Romans 8:12-25 (NRSV)
12So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christif, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. 18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Complete stacks of paperwork and wait! Get an “it’s possible” phone call and wait! Drive to the place you have been told to meet, and finally the child you have already begun to love is placed in your arms. Proceed to care for the child as your own for nine months. In your heart she is yours, but still you have to wait!
At last the day comes when you can finally meet with the judge, sign the papers, and know that this child is legally a member of your family, no matter what the future brings. As an adoptive mother I speak as a witness to this experience.
Today Paul tells us that with God there is no paperwork and no phone call. We belong to God from the beginning. Our adoption into the body of Christ is made public in our baptism. You are God’s child. You belong. Go! Tell.
O Abba, we come before you with thanksgiving that you do not leave us as orphans but love us from our beginning. Thank you for adopting us as your children so we may serve the world as the body of Christ in our place. Amen.