I Belong, Don’t I?
“And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:6 NIV
My childhood in the ‘70s included lots of hippie food, clothes, and activities. That set us apart from our wealthy, conservative, suburban neighbors. The grass on the lawn grew too tall. The hair and beards of the men in the family grew too long. Our cars and houses were simple, and kind of funky and neglected. Although I felt loved by my family, as an adolescent I also felt my “oddness” keenly. I felt like I didn’t belong.
Some of that sense of “odd one out” traveled with me into adulthood. Surprisingly, I didn’t find too many other flower children out there.
However, over time, I have come to experience a deep sense of belonging. It comes from being loved by God and a part of a worldwide diverse Christian family.
Ironically, I, who am a Gentile, worship a Jewish Savior. Jesus came to his own and chose disciples from among the Jewish people. I cannot remake myself into a Jew. But, I know He wants me, too.
Recently, I found evidence for this claim as I re-read the account of Jesus Clearing the Temple in the gospel of John:
“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get out of here. How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:14-16 NIV
My NIV Study Bible note on the verses explains: …”The cattle, sheep and doves were for required for sacrifices. Jews who came great distances had to be able to buy sacrificial animals near the temple. The merchants, however, were selling them in the outer courts of the temple itself, the one place where Gentiles could come to pray.”
Jesus purposely and with intensity cleared the temple for the Gentiles to have a place to pray.
This obviously mattered to him.
So he made a place for me – how meaningful for a flower child like me.
“From my mothers womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family”
No Longer Slaves, We Will Not Be Shaken album, Bethel Music, 2015