Brother not Son


My dad is an elder at the same church I am part of. We have weekly elder/staff meetings and at the end of a recent one, my dad prayed like this: "I thank you for my brother Fred . . . " I was immediately offended by how he addressed me. I'm not his brother, I'm his son - his dear, beloved, flesh and blood first-born son with the double inheritance. I sat there stunned thinking about he addressed me and upon reflection, marveled at how little I understand the Christian faith. In the gospel, water is thicker than blood. Our family relationships are determined by faith not flesh. My true, intended, and ultimate father is God the Father. I have known that for a long time but when my dad prayed that way, it kinda shook me up. "Brother" is a Christian term I reserve for church acquaintances - there is some distance conveyed in the term. When I hear "brother" used to describe relationship with my dad, it makes it feel less intimate. But what it really exposes is how superficial my understanding of the body of Christ is and how shallow my idea of brotherhood is about. After we finished praying, I thought about asking my dad why he prayed that way but I thought better of it. He understands the Christian family concept in a much deeper way than I do.

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