This past weekend, I (Papa), took the youth of our church out to SoCal for an outreach project to help a new mission work (Trinity OPC in the Dana Point area). After worship on Sunday morning, I got to talking with a nice fellow who was keeping an eye on his kids, one of whom has Down syndrome. We chatted for a while, and it finally came out that he and his wife were working on an Eastern Europe adoption of their own (http://reecesrainbow.org/57778/sponsorfrancisco)! We rapidly fell into adoption shop-talk, and later at the church picnic I got to meet his wife who (as I suspect is the case with all adopting couples) had even more adoption shop-talk to discuss. They introduced me to yet another new friend and her children, including a six-year-old girl with Down syndrome from Eastern Europe! (their blog here: http://ahomefordarya.blogspot.com/)
It truly is a small world in the body of Christ!
It is a wonderful thing to fall in quite accidentally with people who have so much in common with you, who share unique perspectives on your own situation, who are further along the road than you and can encourage you, and who are aligned with you on a very deep-seated and important issue.
Adoption is a compelling mutual interest. Yet the adoption of the Christian as sons and daughters of God through the work of Jesus Christ is a much, MUCH bigger deal.
I'm assuming that most of the readers of this blog have a compelling interest in adoption, for some reason or other. So I want to challenge myself (and you) to have that same ready "Oh really! That's wonderful! Tell me about..." response to your fellow Christians, especially when you meet a new one.
Now, I'm a deacon in a very conservative Presbyterian church, so I very much understand the wariness that develops when you have the repeated experience of seeing a nominal Christian act contrary to their profession. Jesus and Paul give good guidelines for dealing with this when it's in your bailiwick, follow those. But I am reminded of the apostles' urgent complaint about the man casting out demons in the name of Christ who was not one of them! (Mk. 9:38-40) Jesus does not interrogate the man about his creed. He simply says "Do not stop him", and let time tell.
Adopting demands an opening of yourself to the world. It was (and is) quite uncomfortable to me since I am usually a very private person. Yet a profession of faith in Christ entails an unreserved opening of yourself to His demands, which includes loving those who profess to be His people. Who do you suppose wounded Paul more deeply? The Jews in Thessalonica who stoned and beat him, or John Mark who turned back from the work (to be later restored, praise God)? Nero who probably killed him, or Hymaneaus and Alexander who made shipwreck of their faith? Jesus asked God to forgive those who crucified Him, but calmly observed that the son of perdition was lost. The Christian life will hurt, and I bet that most of that hurt comes from those we thought we knew. Nothing for it but to love Christ and love His people, and we'll wait until glory to hear the roll call of the kingdom.
Come Lord Jesus!