Sunday, July 27, 2008

Belonging to the One True Family

I consider myself fairly close to my family. We have our modes of interaction, our traditions, our ways of doing things, and for the most part, I enjoy them. Wassail and the Carpenter's Christmas album around a live Christmas tree covered with an array of mismatched ornaments tells me that I'm home for the holidays. When my Dad and I tease each other, we're showing how much we love each other. I'm more likely to find my mother with a power tool than with a feather duster. Our furniture doesn't always match, the Christmas stockings are still up in July, and our bookshelves are covered with pictures. And I love all the quirky things about my house and my family that tell me I'm home.

My mother, who is a very wise woman, taught me to love our family and our traditions. She also taught me not to believe that the way our family did things was the only right way. "Amy," she said, "remember that you don't come from the One True Family." Other people, she said, would do things differently, and I wasn't to insist on my own way with my roommates or my husband just because my family had always done things in their own way.

It was a funny way of putting it, but "the One True Family" is an expression I have come to appreciate as I've lived with a variety of roommates and known people from many walks of life. I've learned that their variety is what gives life its richness and depth, even though it requires some flexibility to adjust to the quirkiness in others that I so appreciate in my own family.

But I've also come to realize what a blessing it us that we all can belong to the real One True Family--that is, to the family of God. When I look at others with spiritual eyes and understand that they are all my brothers and sisters, no matter how they behave, where they come from, or what I think of them, it becomes so much harder to dislike them or to judge them. It becomes so much easier to love them. Paul wrote about this blessing in one of my favorite passages of scripture:

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:14-17).

What a rich, varied, and beautiful family we have! What a blessing it is to belong to the family of God, to have Him as our Father, to be able to become joint-heirs with Christ! How grateful I am to know that while my earthly family is not perfect, we can be an eternal family by keeping our covenants, and so can be members of the One True Family, and members of the household of God.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19).

3 comments:

  1. I find the struggle between good and evil, between God and Satan, between the saint and natural man, is paralleled in the social structures underlying the concepts of universal family and tribe. As you put it, "When I look at others with spiritual eyes and understand that they are all my brothers and sisters, no matter how they behave, where they come from, or what I think of them, it becomes so much harder to dislike them or to judge them. It becomes so much easier to love them." Compare that to the breakdown of society in 3rd Nephi 7, I believe, after the death of Lachoneus, when the people broke into tribes. Think also of the fact that the troubles in the Middle East are rooted in tribalism, especially in the mentality inherent in the desert tribalism of Saudi Arabia (see the book The Trouble with Islam for an interesting discussion of this point.) Think, finally, of the fact that most primitive tribes refer to themselves as "the people" and to their neighbors and enemies alike as something else: dogs, snakes, what have you. Here lies a nugget of insight, I believe, into the profundity of conceiving of all the world as a family, as one true family. But even then, there is always an "other" against which we define ourselves: the church of the whore upon the many waters, Babylon. And whether you take the McConkie-ist interpretation of that phrase or not, it still boils down to one thing: the family of God (us) is defined in relation to the family of the devil (them). Opposition in all things. Can we get around that? Should we?

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  2. This is very well written, Amy. You're really a deep thinker.

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  3. I loved your thoughts here. So much food for thought. And it was so fun to see a picture of your whole family.

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