Preparing For Worship: Healing Our Family Tree

Preparing For Worship: Healing Our Family Tree

John Haralson   •   February 10, 2017

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Damian’s Family Tree, by slashmeanshorror on deviantart.com

Dear Friends,

When people ask me about Seattle, I describe our city in a lot of ways. I talk about its high level of creativity and collective longing for justice. I tell them about the natural beauty that surrounds us at every turn. I often illustrate this by saying that I get to look at the Cascades every morning as I make my coffee and that this never gets old.

I also tell them that Seattle tends to be a city of refugees. 

What I mean by this is that many of us came to Seattle as a means of escaping something (or someone) else. Often, many came here trying to escape our families. We didn’t want to be defined by their views of the world. Or, we just intuited that somehow, some way we have been wounded by our family’s sin and dysfunction. And, understandably, we wanted to get as far away from it as we can.

The problem is, we can run but we cannot hide.

We simply cannot outrun our families of origin. We cannot just get a new zip code and a new group of friends and make it all go away. 

This is why when we begin making spiritual progress, we must go back in time and address the issues of the families in which we were raised. We must dig through the muck and face what we find. If we do not do this, we will either be blind to our family’s own forms of brokenness and prone to repeat them, or we will still be controlled by them through our unhealed wounds.

When we do this hard work, our hope is that we will actually find Jesus amid the glory and shame of our family history. 

You see, when Jesus became human, he became fully human. He didn’t become sort of human or even mostly human. He became fully human. This means, among other things, that he has fully joined himself to the sometimes glorious but often shameful history of all human families the earth has ever known.

And he became human so he could redeem us, even in the midst of our broken and disfigured family stories and graft us into his family tree.

This week: Healing our Family Tree, Luke 3:21-38

Liturgy is here

Warmly in Christ,

John