I love Thanksgiving. Mostly I love it because it is my family’s greatest holiday. We have had 20 something family gatherings in a row, at the same house, with the same people (although we’re growing!), with the same afternoon football game by the lake. Tradition abounds in my family during the holidays. We also have a deep history of gospel-living in Lakeland, my hometown. My grandfather started a Christian school, and my family has been a part of an old, faithful church in Lakeland. If you can’t hear it through my tone, I have a tremendous amount of pride in being a Sligh. I can’t tell you how many times some stranger (to me anyways) has come up to me and said something like, “hey, aren’t you a Sligh? I knew your grandfather, and he was a great man.” My heart swells with joy and pride. There’s this sense in which anything could happen to me in this life, but at the end of the day, I’m always going to be a Sligh.
I was reminded from our sermon this week how much greater my identity in Christ is. Everything about “Slighness” pales in comparison to being Christ’s. If I am united to Christ, its not just that I have a safety net. In fact, that is to miss the point. Christ is my ally, friend, lover, comforter. All of those things that my soul finds comfort in through relationships, are ultimately perfected in my relationship to Jesus. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to experience perfect love? I think about it all the time. It’s what my heart aches for every time I long for a wife. Yet, what is the love of a woman or a man compared to Christ?
I am a Sligh because I am one. I didn’t do anything. My parents had me, and henceforth I bear my father’s name. And I will wear it with pride as long as I live. In much the same way, yet perfected, I am Christ’s because I am. I didn’t do anything, I just am. God, in his kindness, has united me to himself through his Son, and henceforth I bear his name. The joys, privileges, hopes, loves, and horizons are so much greater than what I claim in my own earthly family. You and I are in the divine, heavenly family of God, and it will always be so. Dear friends, be encouraged by your kinship to Christ today.