God destined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ because of his love. (Ephesians 1:5, CEB)
Whenever I hear talk about “destiny,” Star Wars flashes into my mind. Whether it’s when, SPOILER ALERT, Darth Vader revealed his true identity and implored his son Luke Skywalker to join him on the dark side or when the Emperor tried to do the same, they both appealed to the idea of destiny. Of course, though tempted, Luke refuses both Darth Vader and the Emperor’s appeals to his destiny.
Of course, what Paul (let’s just say it’s him) is getting at in the middle of his large, 201 word, run-on sentence isn’t necessarily apples to apples to Star Wars. What we get wrong about his chosen term of “destiny” is the way we apply it to only ourselves. We think of OUR OWN future or fate (similar to Luke Skywalker) when Paul is trying to get at something a bit more collective.
If I can nit-pick for a moment, one of the fundamental things that helps make a family is the presence of more than just you. It’s hard to be a family of one – see the loneliness of Adam in the Garden.
Paul didn’t write “God destined you to be his adopted child.” I can imagine it would seem pretty fantastic at first (God chose ME not all you other suckers out there), but would slowly become more and more lonely.
It certainly wouldn’t be Church because that’s who Paul wrote to. He reminded the Church God welcomed all of them into the Family, even ones they didn’t particularly like.
This hodge-podge group full of people at odds over this or that which is the Church is much more palatable when we remember the thing which brought us here is not inward.
Our destiny doesn’t come from within, but from outside ourselves. It’s God’s love revealed in Christ by the Spirit which brought us into this stone-cold pack of weirdoes known as the Church.
Better yet, it’s by God’s grace we are made part of this family. It’s not something we work for or earn, but a gift we receive.
So come on in, join us here around the Table. Welcome home.