What with 7.5 billion people currently on the planet, it’s easy to think of oneself as interchangeable. Why, in just the South Florida region, we number over 6 million. Anyone that has been in the area for a number of years is aware of the ever-increasing population. Worsening traffic is a constant reminder that there are people, everywhere. What’s more, the reality is most of them are strangers to us. We can feel lost in the crowd when we look around in a public space, and realize we know nothing about the stories of the people we see. We don’t know their names, their histories, their hopes, their disappointments, or their dreams…and they don’t know ours. When assessing our worth in the face of such anonymity, it’s not a far leap to entertain the thought that we are unimportant. That we don’t really matter.
In both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, we hear powerful reassurance to the contrary. The prophet Isaiah says to the Israelites that the Lord has called them by name; God says, you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you. In the New Testament, Jesus reminds his followers that God knows them so intimately, that even the hairs of their heads are all counted. In other words, while we might be anonymous in a crowd, we are not anonymous in God’s eyes. We have value and are individual. God knows us intimately and specifically, and is invested in our every thought, word and deed. God cares about us, and for us. What’s more, given that God has created each person and loves him/her uniquely, it follows that we should look upon the stranger as a brother or sister. We are all God’s family, and we matter. May we embrace our identity as beloved children of God, called into loving community with 7.5 billion others.
Rev. Kathryn Carroll serves as Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, 11295 SW 57th Avenue (Red Road). Worship services are every Sunday at 8:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., with children’s Sunday school also at 10:00 a.m. For information, view the church website at www.ctkmiami.org.