God makes countless promises to us each day. He is in control of the whole universe and yet is intimately involved in each of our lives. One of the promises that he makes to us is that we belong to him. Belonging is one of the most fundamental needs that we face each day. We all want to belong at school, work, home, and in our circles of friends. We also want to know that we belong to God.
Fortunately there are reminders of God’s promise to us everywhere. God makes the promise that we belong to him known to us every day through his word. He also makes that promise known to us through his community here on this earth, the church. The church regularly celebrates things that remind us of God and his promises. God’s promise that we belong to him is evident in the celebrations of communion and baptism, for example.
From the time of creation, God looked at the people he created and called them very good. Even though our sin separates us from God, the entire story of the Bible is about God doing everything to re-enter into relationship with us. He didn’t even spare his only son as a sacrifice to bring us back into relationship with him.
The Apostle Paul said that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8). Later, Paul said, “whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14). Scripture is filled with God’s promise that we belong to him.
The community of God here on this earth is the Church universal. It is intended to be a place where all people can hear the good news of the gospel and come to know that they belong to God. While the church has not always lived up to its calling, it is supposed to be a place filled with grace, love, and forgiveness. As imperfect people, we don’t always reflect God’s love perfectly. But at every turn, the church strives to better reflect that we belong to God every day. At its best, It is a place where everyone belongs and finds love and acceptance each day.
We discover our belonging to the body of Christ through the community that is built through the celebration of the sacraments.
Lord's Supper - When God’s people celebrate communion they are remembering the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. That sacrifice wasn’t just for a special few people. It was for everyone who puts their faith in God. As we celebrate this meal together everyone who is sorry for their sins and strives to live a life of following God is invited to partake. The promise that we belong to God as his people is inherent in communion.
Baptism - When Jesus was baptized, God spoke from heaven and proclaimed that Jesus was God’s son whom he loved. When someone is baptized here on this earth they are symbolically washed clean and marked by God as his child. This invisible mark reminds us every day that we belong to God. We often remind people to remember their baptism. We don’t want them to remember just the act of baptism, even though for some that is a very memorable experience. We want them to remember what their baptism means—that they were washed free of their sins and belong to God.
Knowing that we belong to God changes how we live each day. We can approach every day knowing that whatever we do, wherever we go, and however we feel, we belong to God. It also changes how we interact with each other. When we realize that we belong to God and that he cares about each one of us, it causes us to value others more. God cares about each one of us and wants us to experience his love. He even asks us to share that love with others. If you belong to God, God calls you to share that sense of belonging with everyone you meet. If you haven’t experienced that sense of belonging, ask God to share it with you today.