Many have asked how my teaching went on Sunday morning on the topic of adoption.
I was extremely encouraged by the morning. I'm so grateful that Franconia Mennonite Church believes in adoption enough to devote an entire Sunday to awareness, stories and teaching centered on the topic. I wish more churches would highlight a topic so close to the heart of God. It was the first time I've taught in a tie - except for weddings and funerals.
As I taught I shared our story and how we experienced the miracle of adoption - seeing our pain and grief of infertility turned into great joy with the arrival of Carter. I quoted scholar and Yale professor Miroslav Volf. He writes in his book Free of Charge about the "gift of infertility," noting that if he and his wife were to have biological children that means they would have been robbed of the opportunity of having their adopted boys in their own family...and they couldn't stomache the thought of that.
I preached on Deuteronomy 10:17-20 and talked about God's care for three groupings of people - the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. His command to the nation of Israel was that this nation was to take care of these three groups of people.
I asked two questions, "Who is the alien, the orpha and the widow in our culture - literally or figuratively?" and "What is our role with the foreigner, the orphan and the widow in our culture today?"
I touched briefly on Paul's usage in the New Testament. Paul is the only one to use the metaphor of adoption in Scripture. Adoption (houithesia in Greek) literally means "the placing of the son," an intensely relational (and legal) term. In Latin the term is adoptio, where we get our English word. The refreshing thing is that once God adopts us, we cannot be unadopted.
John Piper calls adoption "the physical gospel," a great way to experience and flesh out the gospel in one's family. God, who looked at us who were spiritual orphans without a family and without a future and says "I want you to be in my family."
The hope of the gospel is that there is almost room for one more in God's family - always.
And as sons and daughters of God we retain all the rights and privileges of being in the family of God.
I was extremely honored to have the privilege of preaching at Franconia. I greatly appreciated the warm welcome of the pastoral staff and congregation. It was a joy to be able to use Carter's story to speak of the Story of God and Man.
But what was most special about the morning for me was the fact that as I taught I looked out and saw Carter's birth-grandparents in attendance who chose to come and hear me teach. That was very meaningful because they have a significant place in our story as well.