Thursday in the Fifth Week of Lent

by Elizabeth Willse

abstract art

O God, you have called us to be your children

From the call to be God’s children, to God’s promise to Abraham of a covenant spanning generations, to Jesus describing the glory of God his Father, it keeps coming back to the connection of family. Family means multitudes of things: relatives, a close network of friends that becomes a found family, church family.

The Disney movie Lilo and Stitch takes place in Hawaii, and uses the refrain that “Ohana means family, and family means that nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” Sisters, friends, little blue aliens who love to sing Elvis songs: everybody works together to help save the day. People look out for each other, and lift each other up so that nobody gets left behind, and keep sharing the stories that mean nobody gets forgotten.

To me, family means a big group gathered around a long table, with lots of food and laughter. Sometimes that big table is a crowd of relatives. Sometimes, it’s a crowd of friends. There’s always room to bring in another chair, to fill another plate, to let someone in on the joke. I’ve heard people call their dearest friends and important people a “chosen family” and I really like that. It makes the close-knit group formed in shared memories more deliberate, and helps us promise each other that everyone gets to share, and nobody gets left behind.