Water Is Thicker Than Blood
An update from Rev. Paul Flo:
Last month, we had the joy of coming together with our brothers and sisters from Storm Lake and Denison, Iowa, for a joint Thanksgiving service (see the picture below and on the second page). Pastor Pedro Lopez, recently called to our area, led us as we were served by our Lord through His Word and Sacrament. Afterward, we enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with a Hispanic flare: Cuban style roasted turkey, Mexican pozole, special drinks like horchata and tamarindo, and so much more.
When you are one of the few members of a budding Hispanic Lutheran church, these moments of fellowship with others united in faith and culture are especially strengthening. In many cases, our Hispanic members are the very first Lutherans in their entire family history! In the face of criticism and accusations of leaving the “true church” (Roman Catholicism) from family and friends, you can imagine the amount of fortitude and conviction that these men and women have! In the words of one of our members, “Oh well, I care about God’s opinion of me more than that of my family and friends!” Jesus’ own words come to mind: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). And if that weren’t challenging enough for us, Jesus completely changes how family is understood. On one occasion while He’s teaching a group of people, His mother and brothers come to get Him. Here’s what happens next: “[The crowd] said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:31-35).
As members of God’s family by grace through faith in Jesus, our family boundaries are also redefined. The popular saying would teach us that “blood is thicker than water.” To the contrary! Blood ties last only a lifetime while our family of faith, born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5), will be our family for eternity!
We thank God for these faithful and bold Hispanic Lutherans who understand something that we all must understand as Christians: Through the waters of Baptism, we are bound to one another in a way the world cannot understand. Water is thicker than blood!