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But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Even as the apostle Paul exhorts his readers in first-century Galatia to remember the adoption of God that envelops all hurts and abandonments, we bear witness to the truth that no one is alone, that all are beautiful children of God, worthy of being welcomed home. This passage proclaims that good news, and I have learned this lesson a hundred times through the community I founded called Thistle Farms, which serves women who are survivors of trafficking, violence, and addiction.
On one of my recent speaking engagements, Lori, a resident in our community, came with me. I love the joyous spirit she brings to new communities around this country as we strive to open housing for women who were traumatized as children and on average hit the streets between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. Recalling her place as a beautiful child of God was never more poignant than on the night she knocked on my hotel door late and asked if she could come in. I opened my door and asked her what had happened. She said, “You won’t believe what happened. I looked in the mirror, and I saw something beautiful.” As she told her story I imagined that as the scales fell from her eyes, she felt the arms of every person who loves and supports her healing, and she realized that she was an heir to an inheritance of grace.
Love showed this young woman that she was no longer in bondage to the chains of oppression and social evil that denied her humanity and made her feel that the only worth she could offer was the going price for her priceless body and soul.
As we sojourn through our lives, I pray that we remember with Lori that we don’t have to remain in bondage to fear and cynicism. We are heirs apparent to childlike wonder, idealism, and hope.
God, thank you for your redemption and adoption. What a priceless gift! Amen.
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Scripture Reading from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.