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Belonging – it’s something even the most independent of us yearn for in the deepest recesses of our heart. As a middle child of six, I knew my sense of belonging early on was clearly identified with this wonderfully loud and often hectic bunch of sisters and brothers. When my father left us, I spent a great deal of time as a child wondering to whom I belonged.

Having a family of my own now, one chile by birth, another by adoption, I want them to first and foremost know that they never have to wonder to whom they belong. They are children of the heavenly father and our children, loved and treasured and belonging.

Growing up in the church there was a tremendous sense of belonging. The nuns and priests knew me by name,(mostly because I was always in one sort of trouble or another) and greeted me when I set foot on the hallowed floors. There was something soothing about knowing the rituals of liturgy, the words flowing easily from my lips, my body responding automatically to the ups and downs, hands reaching out for body and blood, given and shed – for me – FOR ME –  that also enhanced that sense of belonging.

This sense of belonging is what called me into ministry in the first place. That Jesus himself would continually draw from the edges and fringes of community, those whom others would rather not have belong – the tax collector, the crazed man, the Samaritan woman, the thief – and call them into a new community of relatedness; this is what compels me to bring the Good News to those who don’t think they belong. Because this is the Good News – when Jesus Christ stretched out his arms on the cross, God drew all things in heaven and on earth into belonging.

In the name of Jesus draw others to Him – go and find those who have no sense of belonging and stretch out your arms in welcome. Love them into a sense of belonging in ways that are simple and genuine and real. Jesus did simple things. He ate with tax collectors and sinners, he went into the homes of the sick and dead and prayed. He sat at a well with an outcast woman and quenched her thirst for living water. He set his foot on the hallowed ground of peoples’ lives, and drew them in. Who’s waiting to be embraced by you today?


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