The Stranger That Adopts Us

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The Netflix documentary-series Chef’s Table is a show that follows some of the world’s top chefs from 2015.  Specifically, it allows the chefs to tell their stories and their philosophy of creating food and experiences for their customers.  Dominuique Creen, a French chef in San Francisco, tells the story of being molded and shaped by her adoptive parents. She even named her restaurant “Atelier Crenn” after her adoptive father. In one of her more striking statements about running her restaurant, she says (with a beautiful French accent):

“I am fascinated with people that I don’t know. I want to get a window into their life.  You know, strangers adopted me. And then they gave me a different life that, perhaps, I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t (adopted).  I think that’s something that I crave; that moment where you connect (with strangers).  And that’s such an important moment.”

For me, it is the way that being adopted by strangers influences how she encounters other strangers.  She speaks about how she is intrigued by them, wants to dialogue with them, and is drawn to them. 

This influence of her adoptive stranger-parents is extremely moving.  How can this help us to think through the ways in which we encounter God, by the Spirit, in the name of Jesus?  The one who comes as Stranger to us and adopts us as His own.  How does our encounter with this Stranger influence the way we crave to know our neighbor, especially the way we should crave to love our neighbor?

Our love for our neighbor is found in our encounter with the Stranger that adopted us, and not in some conjuring up of emotions in the form of our own works. 

We love because we have been loved (1 John 4:19). 

It is Christ the Stranger’s love that should guide us into our love for one another in Christ and also to the world. 

Paul in his letter to the Galatians puts it this way: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians 6:14

Jesus crucified the world to Christians and Christians to the world.  We must allow our mysterious encounter with Christ to draw us to our neighbor in truth and love. 

It is our testimony. 

It’s a reminder that the Love of God is not gone but present, and the workings of the Spirit of God on us and through us is still happening to those around us and to us.

I am not just a medium of the love of Christ, but I have been recreated as lover.  God is love and ultimately our Lover, and we are (re)created in His image.  We should emit love.  It is less about what we do because of some choice to love, and more to do with who we are in our very being.  To not be “lover” would be to tear at the very fabric of that being.  Christ is the originator that brings about this love for our neighbor.  We take this mysterious Stranger’s love that is so graciously given to us, and we allow it to happen to those around us.  

In Christ, we are adopted as daughters and sons.  Let the Stranger’s Love recreate you once again for the sake of your neighbor and become like your Adoptive Father.


Jake Edgeman