This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Scottish Games, which took place on a beautiful college campus about an hour away from home. It was amazing. I trace my Scottish heritage through my Dad’s side of the family (his Mom was part of the Buchanan and Maclean clans). And, as anyone who knows me well would testify, I am quite proud of my Scottish heritage. It’s been my dream, ever since I can remember, to someday visit the country and explore my clan castles and regions. I love collecting things relevant to our clans (tartans, crests, etc). I love bagpipes, and even saved up to buy my own chanter when I was younger and started teaching myself how to play (unfortunately my breathing problems have prohibited continuing with it for now).
So, of course, I jump at the chance to see or do anything Scottish. And the Games let me do just that. There were kilts all around, and bagpipe music filling the air. There were athletic games and border collie demonstrations. There were vendors selling Irn Bru and haggis (tried and loved the Irn Bru; shied away from the haggis). And there were booths set up for many of the Clans, with tartans and crests and lots of information for anyone interested.
That was one of the highlights of the Games for me. I got to speak with the President of Clan Gillean, which is an American organization for all members of Clan Maclean. Though I knew my clan name, I didn’t know much about the clan itself. He told me about our clan’s castle (Duart Castle) on the Isle Mull, and shared photos of the castle and the amazing sights on the island. He told me about the Chief of the Clan, and the clan gatherings that take place every few years. He even had a map of Scotland that highlighted the regions associated with the clan. I even found out that I’m (distantly) related to Sean Connery, who is also part of the Maclean clan! We talked about the companionship of family, the comfortableness of a group of people who have common ancestry. And though we had never met (and perhaps will never meet again), we had a bond, a unique connection of having shared kindred and history.
It was amazing. It was like finding a long-lost relative. Finding family you never knew you had. You may have nothing else in common, but yet you instantly connect with each other. And you share the greatness of your family history, the wealth of your ancestors. I’m certainly proud to be an American – but I am also proud to be Scottish, proud of my ancestors who fought and struggled and survived. Proud of our family home, our castle on the Island of Mull. Proud to be numbered as one of them, even though I live in a different country and call myself by another name.
Isn’t it the same within the family of God? Don’t we all have that same familial bond with each other? I think of traveling throughout the US, or even of “traveling” across the internet, and finding others who believe in the same God and live by the same Bible. And we have that instant connection, that flash of familiarity. We may never meet in person but yet we immediately find ourselves as comfortable as we are with our own blood relatives.
Clans here on earth can point to a singular castle and a region of their country, and they can name their chief and hope to meet him someday. But think about it: we who are true believers have a family dwelling place where we all live some day with our very own “Chief.” Maybe it’s not a castle here on this earth, nothing we can see or touch during this lifetime. But someday, we will have all of heaven to dwell in! And not only will we have the great honor of meeting our Chief, we will actually dwell with Him for eternity! And think about our family history; we have a rich ancestry outlined through the Scriptures. We can boast of ancestors such as Abraham and David. We can name Paul and Timothy as our kindred. We can claim relation to the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New Testament.
We who trust in Christ are a veritable part of His family. We take His name at the moment of salvation, just as an adopted child takes the name of his adoptive parents. We are grafted in to His family lineage (that being God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit), and share all things with Jesus Christ himself, both His sufferings and also His glories. What a family lineage to rejoice in! What a heritage to claim!
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs— heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:14-17).