Paul Gauguin - who are we - where do we come from
By: jdcharles63
Date: 06/12/2020

There is a painting by the French artist Paul Gauguin which has the longest and most interesting title that I know – it’s called “Where Do We Come From? Who Are We? Where Are We Going?”
The painting doesn’t give any answers to those ultimate questions of life, and neither does our modern world.

Worldly identity is a very shallow concept, and it can be stolen on the internet or from your letter box.
There is even a story (doubtful?) of how Elvis Presley when very overweight, entered an Elvis impersonation contest for a joke, and was given third place!
The worldly view is stated by Oprah Winfrey, who said “Knowing your family history is knowing your worth”, and one reason for the popularity of family history is that many people try to gain a sense of identity and belonging through knowing their family origins.

But I wouldn’t like my identity or worth to be defined by who my ancestors were or what they did.  For if the real details of their lives are recorded, we find things that are embarrassing.
And if we trace back far enough, we end up with the Garden of Eden, and the sin of Adam which has been repeated throughout all of human history.

So, knowing our ancestry just leads to an awareness of our inheritance of sin, death, and separation from God.

Our world cannot provide the personal recognition that people seek, only God knows us completely, where we come from, and who we are.
He knows the perfect way we were created in his image, how we turned to sin and separated ourselves from him, and he sees the full extent of our sin in ways we cannot yet see.

Yet he still loves us more than we can understand.

We will be lost and restless until we are reconciled to God.  It is our relation to Him which truly defines us, and we only find our true identity and purpose through knowing Him.
And here at our Lord’s table we celebrate how God has also provided the answer to where we are going.

For God sent his son Jesus to restore us to Him.
In Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, He has taken our penalty of death upon himself. He has freed us from our ancestral heritage of sin, and through Him we are forgiven and declared righteous and blameless before God.

Jesus has also given us a new family history.
He said in John 3:3 “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”, and we are born again when we put our faith in Jesus.

Our true identity and family tree is very simple. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and through him we are children of God, citizens of heaven, held secure forever in His loving care.



  1. Who Are We? | Life's Questions and Christian Belief - […] Link to: Communion reflection on this question […]

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