In God’s Spirit, we have an advocate, a truth-teller, and a peace-giver.
As you await the power of the Spirit’s gifts, listen again for God’s still, small voice.
All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.”
About a year after arriving in Senegal a group of friends and colleagues gave me a Senegalese name. They decided that I would be known as Paté Ba—the first name identifying me as the middle of several brothers, while the last name marked me as a member of a particular clan. With this new name, I began to also receive new greetings, became privy to inside jokes (and good-natured teasing), and was increasingly accepted more deeply into Senegalese society.
While it might seem an odd tradition to those of us unfamiliar with it, receiving this name felt like I was being welcomed into a new family, and honored with a particular place in that family. And it’s not like people completely stopped calling me by my given name. Instead, I got another family; I was made to feel part of an additional community. The spirit of such a gesture was that of acceptance, welcome, belonging.
Led by God’s Spirit we, too, have been given a spirit of adoption: of acceptance, welcome, and belonging.
God, you have called me by name, adopted me into your family, and blessed me with a spirit of acceptance, welcome, and belonging.
May I extend this same spirit of acceptance, welcome, and belonging to all my classmates, coworkers, neighbors, and acquaintances – to those who are different and those who have been bullied. Let me live out your love and be a part of creating positive change in my world, so that no one feels they are on the outside.
You are a beloved child of God,
created in God’s image,
empowered with the gift of Christ’s peace,
led by the Spirit of truth.
Go into this troubled world led beyond your fear to live as God’s children here and now.