The U.S. Census this year will not only count, but also gain much information about our population. To do so, the census will ask the respondents to put themselves in various categories. While this process serves a good purpose, there is a human tendency to want to categorize and ultimately divide people into groups, not based on their own self-identification, but based on our need to understand and perhaps even to control people who are different from us. 

We hear many words these days that are used to name groups of people as other or different. Often the implication of these terms is that this “other” group is composed of those who are “less than” the group to which we belong. Jesus’ words, again and again, seek to open our ears to a very different word about the identity of all people. 

All are created in God’s image. All are loved by God. All are a part of our human family. 

When Jesus speaks of family, it has nothing to do with our genealogy. Instead, it has everything to do with God’s love for us and for all and how we as God’s children live and share it.

Dear Jesus, open our ears to hear the message that in you we are all related. Help us to break down barriers and to speak words that reconcile and connect, rather than label and separate. Amen.

Rev. Blake Rohrer, Midvale Community Lutheran Church, Madison

But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Luke 8:21