Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families…
— PSALM 68:5-6 (NLT)
“When you hug me, I feel in you the family love of my mother, my aunt, my sister….” These words spoken by a new Canadian often come back to my mind. The middle-
aged woman was telling me about her arrival in Canada and how much she missed her family and the warmth of her close relationships. She explained that when other women, long-time Canadians, show her affection, she receives this care as coming from them but also as a welcome substitution for her mom’s, her aunt’s, her sister’s expressions of love.
David used lavish and extravagant language when he wrote Psalm 68. One word picture after another describes God’s power, his justice, his care, his protection. The psalm ends with our only possible response: “…Praise be to God” (v. 35).
The Spirit of this absolutely praiseworthy and powerful God lives in us. It is difficult to wrap our minds around the two opposite realities of this truth: our frail humanity is juxtaposed with our mind-blowing potential for being and displaying his love and power in our world!
When we go to church, we worship God, we learn more about him, and we enjoy his people, but we also have a great opportunity to embrace the lonely into our families. In the foyer after the meeting, we can say by hugging a new Canadian, “You are my sister in Christ; I love you.” When we walk down our street or go to the coffee shop, we can actively look for lonely people and know that God, through us, is embracing them with a smile and, step by step, is drawing them into his big family.
FURTHER SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: PHILIPPIANS 2:1–8
1. At my church, is there a new Canadian who needs to feel the love of a new family? What can we do to embrace them?
2. Every time I go out for coffee, can I make warm eye contact with the servers and notice their name and smile? Can my smile cue me to ask God’s Spirit to draw them into his family?
Myra Brown, a member of Southview Alliance Church, volunteers in Calgary’s immigrant sector. Myra, a former International Worker in Africa, served on the Global Ministries Leadership Team of the C&MA for nine years.