Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises. (Hebrews 2:11-12)
I have a cousin. For discretion’s sake, I’ll just refer to him as Bluto. Since we grew up and lived in the same town, I fairly often encounter people who, learning my name, look at me and say, “Oh, are you related to Bluto Browning?”
Whenever I hear that question, I pause, contemplating the potential pitfalls of my answer. Invariably, I reply in the same fashion: “Do I want to be?” More than once, my questioner has smiled at that reply. They understand, even if they like Bluto, what I’m getting at. He’s–how shall I say–a little hard to take for many people.
In the Vacation films, the hero Clark Griswold, one of my favorite on-screen personalities, has an embarrassing cousin, Eddie, played by Randy Quaid. Clark attempts to avoid Eddie when he can and keep him at arm’s length when he can’t. Eddie is considerably different from Bluto. For example, Bluto has never dumped the contents of an RV’s sewage tank into a storm drain only to blow up part of the neighborhood. But the feeling is similar, I’m sure.
What’s beautiful about our family relationship with Christ is not that we don’t have to be ashamed of him. After all, why would we be ashamed? What’s beautiful is that after making us holy he doesn’t have to be ashamed of us. We are the awkward cousins in the relationship until Jesus gets hold of us and renders us perfect family. That’s my prayer for Bluto.