It has has set me to thinking about this bible verse from Psalm 68:6: God sets the lonely in families.
We have a family of birth that sets us down at a point in family history with parents, grandparents all the way back to what we think of as ancestors and all the way down to children yet unborn in our family lines. Even people who think of themselves as "alone" have cousins in related lines that share parts of our history. Then we have families of choice: neighborhood or community families, church families, military families, school families, work families, bar families, bowling families, homeless families, PTA families and dozens more with which our ties have varying degrees of closeness and loyalty.
We are created for connection. We long to share our stories, reveal our true selves, help and be helped, love and be loved, sing our heart to trustworthy folks who will sing theirs to us. God has provided for us both human connections of blood, law and choice. But even more important God invites us to embrace our connection to our who is Love, does love, loves us unconditionally.
I think one of the biggest lies people believe (and this damages us all) is that loyalty is about love and hate. If we are truly loyal, we can be loyal without hating the person, group or nation that is opposed to us. If we are standing on the truth, we need fear nothing and without fear there is no hate. Does this mean we should not defend ourselves? Of course not! But it does mean that we can do that without demonizing the other side.
Jesus said that what we do to the least of God's children we do to Jesus too. So if we must defend ourselves from danger, we must take care not to loose our own humanity in the process. That is a plenty difficult position to be in without feeling the price in self-damage+ has been too high.
So look around and see this huge, diverse, quirky, challenged, and challenging family of God, those who realize God is their father and those who don't yet. Pray for them. Laugh with them. Love them. Care for them. And when the opportunity presents itself to worship with them, thank God with joy.