Immanuel Lutheran Church
Adopted by the King
Gods unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to! (Ephesians 1:5 The Living Bible)
Imagine yourself as a child on the streets of New York City in the 1800s. At the time that the founders of Immanuel traveled from Sweden to America, there was a great migration. Many people came by ship from Europe and Scandinavia, taking a long and dangerous journey. Not everyone who set off for America made it. Many died en route. As a result thousands of children arrived in America as orphans with no mother or father to care for them.
Imagine how difficult it would be to arrive in a strange land as a child. You dont speak English. You dont have any money. And worst of all, you dont have a mother or father to care for you. That was the plight of 30,000 kids in the mid-1800s. New York became so overwhelmed by all these orphans they couldnt take care of them all. Many kids were sucked into lives of crime or prostitution just to survive.
Pastor Charles Long Brace felt that something had to be done for these kids. He believed the children would have better lives if they left New York City and were raised by good Christian farm families. So, he put them on trains heading West. At towns along the way the conductor announced that there are children in need of homes and invited the local townspeople to adopt these children. By 1929 about 200,000 kids were adopted through the orphan trains.
One was adopted by a middle-aged couple in Michigan, named Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford. Can you imagine the wonder that child must have felt when he was driven in a car to a huge mansion and told that this would be his new home? Just think if you were that lucky child! Everything there is yours to enjoy! By some miracle you now have a family that loves you and a new home! What a family and home it is!
That is the picture painted in Ephesians to portray our condition. We were once orphans, left to our own devices, struggling to scrounge out a life. But through the grace of God, we have been adopted into Gods family. We are sons and daughters of the most high King. We are inheritors of all Gods good gifts. We are heirs to eternal life.
That is the good news. That is the message of Gods love and salvation, lav-ished upon us. Just like those kids who rode the orphan trains, we did not do any-thing to earn our adoption. It is pure gift. We are inheritors of all Gods wonderful gifts. We are named and claimed by God as his beloved sons and daughters for all eternity. What a blessing that is!
May God fill you with a new appreciation for his forgiveness, love, and grace. May you live into your role as Gods beloved son or daughter.
In Christs service, Pastor Marla