Everybody need places to belong. Most families can provide a sense of belonging, acceptance and affirmation. God has designed the church family of faith as a central place of belonging for believers. Our belonging in the church is not by any merit of our own work. We have not earned our way into the family of God, rather we belong because he has “called us, gathered us and enlightens us” (Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed – Luther’s Small Catechism) by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the church we have often talked about helping people be assimilated into the church as a way for them to have a sense of belonging. The word assimilate means to “make similar”. My more recent experiences make me believe that not everyone wants to be alike, but perhaps let their uniqueness come through.
As the kingdom of God comes among us – there needs to be room not just for people who look and think like we do, but also for people from various cultural backgrounds. Some of these cultural backgrounds of our nearby neighbors in Arlington are very different. There are over 100 languages spoken in the homes of Arlington residents. There are also a variety of cultures within the white demographic. For example, millennial’s think differently than Baby Boomers or Gen-Xer’s.
What makes a family is not necessarily all being similar, but having a unity. Our unity comes from Christ, who is the head of the church. He is the great unifier. As we rally together to bring the kingdom of God to bear – our purpose and our call from him bring solidarity. We serve as his creatures of restoration and seek to bring flourishing to all people. This common goal which we share is truly where belonging and unity start.