Article | July 21, 2017
Lectionary Reflection: The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 44:6-8; Psalm 86:11-17; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Like many children, I was often distracted by an active and creative imagination. I had phases when I entertained all kinds of curious notions: the burning desire to be a pilot, the certainty that I’d been born in Ohio (I liked the funny sounding name), considering converting to Judaism, heroically saving scores of people in peril, etc. Fascination with the exotic, the exciting and the unknown is a part of life’s early growing stages, and I reveled in it!
For some reason, I also had fantastic imaginings about being adopted. I was not, but, much to my mother’s chagrin, I’d announce my certainty that this was the case and that both my parents were hiding it from me. Adoption to me, as a boy, meant a special kind of belonging because, rather than the random “natural selection” of biological birth, adopted children were sought out and “known” by their new parents and intentionally chosen — flaws, quirks, limitations and all.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul captures a wondrous sense of hopeful waiting and true belonging by using the metaphor of being “first fruits” of the Spirit yearning for Divine adoption. The radical idea that we are desired, chosen and loved in a profound way by another Parent (one who will never forsake us) is a powerful message. Even as we “groan” along in the travails and labored journey of life, the promise of ultimate and unconditional adoption as one of God’s own, into the place of gladdest desire, sustains and affirms us.
Perhaps that rambunctious little daydreamer had a glimpse of something truthful all those years ago? May we all find comfort in the possibility of an ultimate “adoption!”
Jeff Clark was a parishioner at the cathedral during his time in San Francisco and began his EfM studies here in 2007. He now lives in Newport, Rhode Island with his partner and is active in the historic Trinity Church.