“It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, “And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Acts 3:25 )
Peter was preaching in the Temple, and so was talking to his fellow Jews. But Peter is also the one who spoke up in Jerusalem, reminding his fellow apostles and others that Jesus/God came also for the Gentiles. (It was in Act 15:6-9 and I wrote on it several days ago. Post from June 21st) Peter’s recognition that faith comes both through traditional family lines (referring to the Hebrew prophets and God’s covenant with the people who would becomes the Jews) and God’s covenant through Christ is an important one.
Believers come to faith from many backgrounds. It used to be, two or three generations ago, that Mennonites came from Mennonite backgrounds – what used to be called “cradle Mennonites.” But the spread of Mennonite/Anabaptist faith has become global and we rejoice in this. The Confession says, “Families of faith are called to be a blessing to all families of the earth.” The Confession is referring to both church families and generational families who hold a common faith belief. But families of faith are no longer defined by who one’s parents were or where one was born. Faith comes on the wings of the Spirit, and the Spirit blows where It will. We need to remember that when we think of families that are a blessing and families that are blessed. In fact so diverse is the Mennonite family of faith (and indeed all denominational families of faith) that not all can trace family lines back to Abraham; and therein is the blessing that God promised to Abraham – that all families of the globe are blessed through the faith that Abraham had, and the faith that inspired his life and the lives of his children.
Can you imagine that gentle reader? We assume that Christians can trace their way back to Abraham, but if Abraham is truly a “spiritual father”, then even the thinnest and longest traced genealogy may not find its way to Abraham. This is what by a truly global faith. And it is what God envisioned. There is more that can be said about how we treat our “spiritual” brothers and sisters. But I think you can guess what I would say.
May you gentle reader give thanks for those who are your families of faith, and may you both bless and be blessed by them. Selah!