Posts Tagged ‘Children’

I Will Not Leave You Orphaned 5-21-17

In this sermon, based on John 14:15-21, I explore Jesus promise to his followers that he will not leave us orphaned. Just what does that really mean?

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

I read a lot, and over the years I’ve slogged through many different stories…some great, some not so great. I’ve read a lot of different types of stories and followed along with many different characters. And it seems to me, that one of the types of stories that is always engaging has to do with a main character that’s an orphan. Someone who begins the story disconnected, with no sense of being part of anything.

Many of our classic stories, both old as well as new, fall in this category. Huckleberry Finn…Anne of Green Gables…Little Orphan Annie…Harry Potter…just to name a few…and if there’s one thing that these characters seem to have in common through their respective stories, it’s a search for connection…for belonging…the search to find the place where they belong.

Perhaps these various characters and their fictional stories are so engaging is because, deep down…I think its part of our very nature to seek this out for ourselves…connection…community…belonging.  Now there are many different places that we can find this sense…in fact our very understanding of socializing is based on it…we spend time with those we that we belong to…those who share a sense of commonality.

Many of the words that we would use to describe ourselves reflect this…and perhaps none more deeply than the connection that we hold with our family. Good bad or otherwise, so much of our identity is tied to our family of origin…and perhaps for many of us, maybe even all of us…our family offers us a sense of stability in terms of who we are.

Now perhaps, this is why a brief statement offered by Jesus in today’s reading seems so utterly significant. As Jesus sits at the table of the Last Supper with the disciples…with this small group of individuals that he has claimed as his own…this group of people who he has even come to call family…as he sits there with them, sharing a final time together, he knows that he’s saying goodbye…and maybe knowing this…he feels compelled to give them an assurance that they will not be left alone. And not only that…but his promise…I will not leave you orphaned. (pause)
I thought a lot about that this week…about what it must be like to be orphaned…about the sense of isolation that it must create…to be utterly disconnected from everyone. To have no sense of belonging…no one present who will care for you…no one that shares a common life with you…and I can only imagine just how isolating and terrifying that must be, not only for a child…but for anyone who has lost those family connections within their lives.

And as I thought along those lines, I found myself asking the opposite question…if Jesus will not leave his followers, either the 12 men sitting at the table with him…or any of the rest of his followers throughout the ages that have passed, including us of course…but what does it mean that he will not leave us orphaned? (pause)
If we are to answer that question…what is the opposite of being orphaned…it would seem to include connection…inclusion into something…to be cared for…to be claimed…in short…to belong with someone else….in short…family.

Now family is an interesting term…often we think of a connection by genetics…but I think the term family can certainly farther reaching than that…as it seems to imply a sense of closeness that exceeds all else…and this closeness is a sense that can create amazing joy and comfort…and at the same time, it can create an amazing sense of loss when that person that we claim as family is no longer around…and as we all know…separation is a reality.

It come in many forms…but none so final…none so utterly complete…than death. I can only imagine that was a sense that Jesus was experiencing at the Last Supper…knowing that he was going away…that he was going to a place where his friends…his family…could not go.

Many of us sitting here today have experiencing the pain and separation caused by death…and if you haven’t, just wait…it’ll find you sooner or later…because it is a reality in our existence…painful, but true. (pause)
But that being said…there’s a promise…one that we cling to as followers of Christ…one that he hints at today as he says “Because I live, you will live also.” We cling to the promise that there is more to our existence beyond the separation of death. We may not know just what it looks like…we may not know just how it works, but Christ has made us this promise…one that we often call eternal life…or heaven…or the afterlife…and it’s a promise that we cling to, one that gives us hope, especially when we look forward and see the reality of our own death.

Now here’s the thing…earlier this week I was having a conversation with an individual who’s health is not great…and though it now seems that she’s gonna be with us for a while longer, it WAS touch and go. (pause) Now as we sat and talked, she said “Well…I honestly didn’t know what to do. I wanted to go there (point upwards)…and I wanted to stay here.” When I asked her why that was she said “I’ve got family there…and I’ve got family here.” And after a moment of silence she said “Wouldn’t it be great to get the whole family back together.” (pause)
The depths of the love that this women feels for her family, both those still living and those who have died is amazing…and she recognizes the disconnect that is caused by death…the separation…the isolation. And as we all think about it today I think we would agree that its just…not…right.

And you know what…we aren’t the only ones. Because God recognizes this as well…and in fact…if scripture tells us anything…its that God is at work to rectify it…and this is where Jesus comes in…for Jesus God in the flesh…God entering into our reality and experiencing just as we do so that he may somehow, someway overcome that which is broken within it…that he might overcome the power of sin and death and the separation and isolation that comes with it.

And God is not simply doing this because we are part of the creation that he made and is proud of…but God is doing this because to God we…are…family. Throughout scripture we see time after time that God calls us his children. God has claimed us…repeatedly…calling us heirs….and in the Biblical sense…that’s what adoption is all about.

Jesus says we will not be orphaned…and by its very definition the opposite of being orphaned is being adopted…and in Jesus’ time, that meant that the owner of the household claimed you as their heir…they claimed you as their child…and I believe that God looks upon all of humanity in this way…and Jesus came into our reality in order to show us this…Jesus came into our reality in order to get the family back together for good. (pause)

Now interestingly enough…as we’ve said before…the redemptive work of God in Christ Jesus is already finished, even if it doesn’t feel like it yet…but the work of reconciling this world…of gathering this family back together…that work is still going on…and it happens under the power of the one that Jesus talks about today.

I am going away, but I will send another advocate…another helper…the Holy Spirit which will abide with you and in you…now here’s the thing about the Holy Spirit…the thing that all too often we here in the Lutheran church push to the back burner…the action of the Holy Spirit in the world is the action of God in the world.

We might not fully grasp just what Holy Spirit is…and that’s ok…but the Spirit is at work whether we recognize it or not. (pause) Now there are many places to look and see…and we profess several them every week here in worship. I believe in the Holy Spirit…the holy catholic church…the communion of saints…the forgiveness of sins….the resurrection of the body…and the life everlasting. (pause) Sound familiar?

Each of those statements, taken from the Apostles Creed, testify to the work of the Holy Spirit and the one that I think is THE MOST important, is also the first…the holy catholic church…which those of you who have been through confirmation with me know…catholic starts with a small c…and that means UNIVERSAL, not Roman.

Somehow, someway, the power of the Holy Spirit unites us all together as ONE CHURCH…ONE body here on the earth…together we make up the physical representation of Christ on Earth as he hangs out in heaven preparing a place for us. I can’t explain how it works…and often I’m quite discouraged by the bickering and the disagreement that occurs within different branches of this ONE body…but in the end if we can agree that Jesus is Lord and salvation comes through what he has done, then maybe, just maybe all that other stuff is just secondary…and we can focus on the thing that we have in common…the thing that unites us together…the thing that makes us…FAMILY.

There’s a song that I like a lot…it says “In Christ alone, my hope is found.” Today, may we all find that hope in his promise that we will not be left as orphans…but because the one who made us in the first place claims us as his children, and unites us together through the power of His Spirit…we will never be alone.

And so as we look around this room…seeing one another…may we see family…united together as beloved children of God…freed to love one another as Christ has first loved us…because we are united by something that is stronger than just genetics…we are united by blood…his blood…which was shed for you and for ALL people for the forgiveness of sins…so that we might be claimed as his own. Amen.

Its A No Brainer 9-20-15

In this sermon, based on Mark 9:30-37, I explore what Jesus is trying to tell us when he says that we must welcome a child. Unfortunately, we have the tendency, like the disciples, of being a little dense about his teachings.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

There’s a movie that came out while I was in college called Office Space. The entire premise of this movie is how much the main character hates his job…he works in a cubicle at a big software company, and day after day, his work makes him miserable.

Early on in the movie, we see just how true this is, when he walks up to the only two individuals at his job that he actually gets along with, and says “I’ve gotta get out of here…you guys wanna go get some coffee?” And we find out that they are only 30 minutes into their work day. Turns out this little episode is because some perky coworker accused him of having a case of the Mondays.

I get it…Monday’s are tough…because the work week is just starting off…the freedom of the weekend has just ended and you are as far away from the next weekend as possible…and if you happen to be in a job that isn’t all that great…the weekly case of the Mondays seems even worse. (pause)
Now that being said, I actually like Monday because its my day off…but I feel the same sort of dread towards Tuesdays. However, I’ve also gotten into a routine that breaks that blaw feeling…and that’s the pastor’s text study that I attend on Tuesday mornings. We talk about the gospel…debating various passages and scriptural connections…sharing insights with one another while discussing various points of view on the different texts. Then, once we’ve done that for a couple hours, we head off somewhere in town to have lunch together.

Admittedly, I love this sort of thing…honest discussion around scripture is exciting for me…and I love to learn with one another in this way. But sometimes we’ll hit a certain bit of scripture and we just can’t seem to get anywhere with it…actually this happens a lot.

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying that the word of God is living and active…and it is…sometimes a certain passage is understood one way…but then the next time around your new experience or context makes you see it a little bit differently…sometimes the scriptures appear to be metaphorical…and sometimes they seem to be quite literal…

This week…the issue of metaphorical verses literal tripped us up…and we spent quite a bit of time trying to determine just what Jesus is talking about when he gathers a child into his arms and tells his disciples that they need to welcome one such as this.

Is he being literal? Telling the disciples…and not just them but us as well…Hey…you need to welcome kids…or on the flip side, is he telling us that we need to welcome the powerless…the ones that lack status and can’t protect themselves…

That was the big question…and we didn’t really come up with a good solution…and after a lot of discussion…we hit a lull in the conversation…and since it was pushing noon, my stomach started growling…and it was loud enough that everyone at the table heard it…so we figured it was time to break for lunch.

And so, a few minutes later, we were sitting at a table at Applebees…having more laid back conversation while we waited for our food to arrive…when I noticed a small girl, probably about 4 or 5 bouncing around in the entryway. Her family was waiting for their table and she was entertaining herself by running towards one of the padded benches that sits there in the entry way…and then she’d jump on it.

The girl did this about 2 or 3 times until she misjudged a jump…and promptly smacked her face into the windowsill…and at that…the conversation at my table utterly stopped…we had all seen it happen…and I think the same thought crossed ever single mind as we saw the girls face scrunch up and the tears well up… “Where’s mom?”

The girl stood there crying for a few seconds…and we were just about to get up to go help her when she ran out of site around a corner to where her parents were standing…and once we saw that she was back with her caretakers…I think we all breathed a sigh of relief. (pause)
But I kept thinking about that moment throughout the course of this week…thinking that maybe, just maybe that was a bit of a sign for us following that debate in text study.

That child was in need…if only for an instant…and that need commanded the attention of an entire table…in that instant all we cared about was her well-being…and the fact that she was unable to comfort herself. (pause)

And as I pondered on that…I had the thought that maybe, just maybe we were putting way too much thought into the debate…that in this instance, we were letting our intellect get in the way of understanding just what Jesus was trying to tell us. That maybe, this should be a no brainer.

And as soon as I had that thought…and the small amount of shame that can, at times accompany a thought like that…I felt an awful lot like the disciples in the story today. (pause) Once again…we hear that Jesus is teaching the disciples…and that once again…they fail to grasp what he’s saying. (pause)
A week ago, we heard Jesus make the first prediction of his suffering and death that would occur…something called the Passion Predictions…there are three of them in Mark’s Gospel…we heard the first one last week…and Peter promptly rebukes Jesus only to have Jesus slam him right back.

The second one appears here…just one chapter later…and the final one is coming right up in chapter 10. Three times Jesus plainly tells his disciples “Hey guys…I’m going to die…and its not going to be pretty…but don’t worry because 3 days later I’ll be alive again.” (pause)

And all three times…the disciples…utterly fail to understand him…and its not like Jesus it speaking cryptically…he’s sharing the truth openly and bluntly. I will die…period. (pause) Admittedly, every time I hear moments like this…times when the disciples fail to understand what’s going on, it leaves me scratching my head just a little bit.

Shouldn’t they get it? I mean, they’ve got Jesus right there…the source of the teaching…the teacher himself…doesn’t he explain it in a way that makes sense? And especially this situation…how much more clear can you get than “I will suffer and die and then I will rise again?”

But here’s the thing…we’ve got hindsight…we know the full story…and we know what’s coming…Jesus is betrayed and arrested…and the disciples all run away…and he’s beaten…and he’s crucified…and he dies and is put in a tomb…and then…in the end…he walks out of that tomb alive again.

We’ve heard the whole story…and so when we hear Jesus start talking about it…it comes as no great surprise to us…but the disciples didn’t have hindsight did they? They were living in this story…experiencing it in real time. And so when their master sits them down and says “Guys…you’ve been with me for awhile now…you’ve seen the miracles…you’ve heard the teaching…you know that I’m the Son of God…but I’m gonna die,” don’t you think that would probably blow their minds just a little bit…that they would lack the ability to wrap their heads around it?

But if we think about it, maybe that’s not so surprising…because even with the benefit of hindsight, don’t we all lack understanding about what Jesus tells us? (pause) And maybe, just maybe, we end up falling into the same trap as the disciples.

Because following Jesus’ proclamation of his coming demise…they start bickering with one another about who’s the greatest. “Hey Peter…you used to the favorite until you yelled at Jesus…I bet he likes me better now.” “Shut up Andrew, at least I can name all the prophets.” “That’s nothing John, I get to carry the money bag for us all…I’m the best.” (pause)

I’ll admit it, I don’t know what the debates all about here…unless they are trying to establish the pecking order for who will be in charge when Jesus actually does die…but regardless of their motivation, Jesus flips everything on its ear by talking about the greatest being the one that is willing to serve everyone else…and then he goes one step beyond that and grabs this random child in a big bear hug…and tells them…you want to be great…then you need to receive this one…this one that has no status…this one that has no rights…this one that has no way to protect themselves…you need to receive this one…and then…only then will you receive me…and not only that but you will have received God. (pause)

Interestingly enough…we don’t hear the response of the disciples to this revelation by Christ…maybe because they had nothing to say…maybe they were rendered speechless…maybe the rules that they had grown up knowing had no answer to this. (pause)
Because at face value…Jesus seems to be talking about the notion of hospitality…that you need to welcome everyone…that you shouldn’t exclude anyone…even the least worthy…the last one expected…but if that’s the case…then Jesus is actually laying down some law here…saying that if we want to receive God…if we want to come into the presence of God, we need to welcome the powerless. (pause)
But I don’t think Jesus came into our reality in order to establish more rules…I don’t think he came into our reality to create more barriers that we need to somehow jump over in order to please God…things that we must do in order to be good enough…I’m pretty sure that Jesus came into our reality, lived died and rose again in order to tear down those barriers…to upend those rules. (pause)

Because if its really all about the rules…then this would have been a no-brainer for the disciples…their culture was centered around the notion of hospitality…that you welcomed the stranger into your midst…into your home and at your table…so why would Jesus need to share this? Why would have to hammer on this idea…unless the disciples…those following Jesus…which includes us by the way…aren’t the ones that need to do the welcoming?

The question occurs to me, what if we are the child? What if we are the powerless one…what if we are the ones that Jesus gathers into his arms in a giant bear hug? (pause) I thought about that…and then I realized that there is only 1 other place in all of the gospels when Jesus bear hugs someone like this? It’s a chapter later, when he tells us that any who wish to receive the kingdom of God must become like the child…like the child that he holds in his arms. (pause)

My friends…certainly there are times in life…times in our walk as followers of Christ when we are called to receive others…but what we must remember is that it is not up to our judgment to determine who these others are. Jesus does that…we are called to receive the ones that Jesus has taken hold of…the ones wrapped in his arms…its up to him…not us.

And the second we start to think that it is up to us…and that we hold the key…that we hold the power…then we need to realize that sin has just knocked us flat once more…and once more we must rely on the grace of God…on the love of Christ, who wraps us in his arms once more.

This is why Martin Luther called us simultaneous saints and sinners…because in every moment we are fully justified in the arms of Christ…while still being fully entangled in the power of sin…And yet God looks at us with love and concern and acceptance despite our flaws…and when God asks the question of whether or not this sinner is worth the cost of salvation…whether or not you are worth the price paid by Christ…God says each and every time…Of course my child…that’s a no brainer. Amen.

We’re Fickle Aren’t We 7-6-14

This sermon is based on Matthew 11:16-19,25-30. Jesus has been talking about John the Baptist, and exhibits frustration with the fickle response of the crowds to the different ministry styles of both John and himself.

You can listen to the sermon here:

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here. Be sure to disregard indications to pause and odd punctuation. I have a weird writing style after all.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Sometimes my brain has this strange tendency to not really comprehend certain truths until a couple different coincidental things happen. I can hear something over and over again, and the truth of it just won’t sink it…but then something else happens along the same lines, and suddenly the mental light bulb goes off for me.

For the past couple of months I’ve been hearing ads on the radio as well as seeing them on tv for various political candidates. Various individuals rattling on and on before the final bit of information lets you know that they are running for congress or senate, or for governor, or whatever other races are going on. I hear them, and admittedly, 9 times out of ten the information goes in on ear and right out the other…I hear it…I groan…and then I go right back to whatever else was going on prior to the beginning of the add.

But then on Friday, I was sitting along the parade route here in town, celebrating the 4th of July along with what I estimated to be approximately ¾’s of the population of Pottawattamie County…and a few different people went by in the back of a truck or a car, with a sign indicating that they, too, are running for office. (pause) LIGHT BULB

Lightning might as well have struck my brain…because I had an epiphany…its an election year. (pause) Duh right? Admittedly, I’m been pretty slow on the uptake on that one…but when I stop and think about it, I wonder if maybe that’s a subconscious thing in my mind…protecting me from the aggravation that is politics…or to be more specific, politics during election season.

Admittedly, I’m probably failing in my civic duty, but for the most part I tend to block out these ads, because in the end all they tend to do is irritate me. I’m sure its not true across the board, but the vast majority of ads that I hear or see fail to tell me the slightest thing about the candidate that the ad is supposively supporting…Instead, 99% of the add is simply talking smack about their opponent…tell you…John Q Taxpayer why you shouldn’t vote for the other guy…listing their negative track record…their vices…their failures…and in short…trying to make you scared of them so that you’ll make the obvious choice, and vote for the right person.

And then, more often than I’d like to admit…within the very same block of commercials…you see the opponent doing the very same thing. Funny how that works isn’t it? Now I shouldn’t generalize…I really shouldn’t…but sometimes it really seems like the political ads are a bunch of bickering children…caught up in the normal sibling argument that every parent has heard…he did this…she did that…its not my fault.

And just as those bickering children try to make themselves look good by making the other one look bad, I’ve seen way too many political ads…and so perhaps I’m jaded…but it really seems like they’re just telling us what they think we want to hear…and no one can really make up their minds what they want. (pause)

Now…it should be noted that I’m not trying to be political today…far from it…I have no partisen agenda, so rest easy…I have no plans to sway you in the political realm today. Rather…as I think about the multitude of mudslinging that goes on this time of year, I’m reminded of the apparent issue that Jesus is facing in today’s story.

Admittedly, it starts off a little strange…Jesus has been talking about John the Baptist…who is currently sitting in prison because certain people didn’t like how he conducted himself in his ministry. In short…John irritated the wrong people and now he’s behind bars.

Jesus has been talking about him…and it seems that in the midst of the conversation, Jesus get’s a little exasperated thinking about the results of John’s ministry as well as his own. And he spouts off…to what will I compare this generation? Like children sitting in the marketplaces…children who just can’t get along…children who can’t decide what they want.

At first this seems a little strange to hear from Jesus…but he goes on. John came, neither eating nor drinking…John went through his ministry…bold…confrontational yes…yet following tradition and the law…and what did you do? You threw him in jail.

And when Jesus came? He tried different tactic…he lived life with those he encountered…you call him a glutton and a drunkard…and WHY? Because he sits down at the table to enjoy a meal with those who welcomed him…because he had a glass of wine? Because he simply celebrated the companionship of the people he was with at that time…and the crowds didn’t like it. (pause)

John and Jesus…two very different men…two very different styles of ministry…and yet the crowds reject them both…just like those jeering children in the marketplace…they can’t make up their mind what they want…and yet…as I think about this…about just how frustrating that must have been for Jesus and for John…and not only but for God himself who had sent both of them to proclaim this good news…as I think about that…the next part of the scripture lesson comes as no great shock as Jesus starts praying…and it really comes across as frustrated.

Father…I thank you…that you have hidden these things from the wise and clever…and revealed them to infants. (pause) Now admittedly, the first time I heard that…it confused me…because you’d think the wise and clever would understand it. The basic truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t that complicated after all…so the wise one should get it right away…but that’s not what happens…and we see just a little bit of why in Jesus’ next few statements…for no one knows the father except the son and the ones that the Son chooses to reveal him too.

And think about it…who’s Jesus going to choose to reveal God to? Those that turn away from him? Those that write him off…scoffing at him…accusing him of simply being a drunk? Or is Jesus going to reveal the truth to those who accept him…which we see in the story seems to be the ones who are likewise rejected…the simple…the lowly…the overlooked…those who have been beat down by the world and all the burdens that come with it.

So maybe…just maybe that’s why we get the strange little transition into the final portion of this scripture…something that at first glance really doesn’t seem to have all that much in common with the first two parts. Come to me…all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens…and I will give you rest.

Sounds hopeful doesn’t it? Like it might just appeal to those that are rejected and downtrodden…those carrying their own burdens…those carrying the weight of the world. When we think about that…it makes sense that they would stop and pay attention…that their ears would perk up just a bit at the teachings of this miracle man named Jesus.

But just when its all starting to make a little sense…Jesus throws out a statement that I fear has turned into something of a Christian cliché. Take my yoke upon you…for my yoke is easy and my burden light. (pause)

When’s the last time anyone saw a yoke? (pause) Anyone here under the age of 35 even know what a yoke is? Well a yoke is a wooden harness, used to hitch two oxen together by laying a big wooden beam over their necks, and connecting a wooden loop up under their throats to the main beam, so that as the two oxen move forward their front shoulder push against the beam which is in turn connected back behind them to some sort of equipment…often a plow or a heavy wagon or something of that nature.

And so, listening to that description…does that sound anything at all like something that would be easy and light? I don’t know…but it doesn’t really sound like, not when the reality sets in. (pause)
Thinking about that reminds me of something that happened last Thursday…I’d put off mowing the lawn for a couple days…and so it was nice and long and thick…I’d made a few laps around the back yard, but still had a lot left to do when all of the sudden the self-propel mechanism stopped working…and suddenly I found myself having to physically push that rather heavy mower around and around again….my first thought was “ahh…its not so bad…I can do this.” But I’ll tell you what…the physical effort that actually went into doing the work…rather than simply walking along behind it…was exhausting…I may have initially thought it would be light and easy…but I quickly discovered the exact opposite.

And so as I think about this analogy that Jesus gives us today…that his yoke is easy and his burden light…I got to admit…I scoff just a little…and I wonder if maybe just maybe you do too. Come to me…all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens. (pause)

Does that hit home with anyone out there? Anyone carrying heavy burdens…anyone got the weight of the world on your shoulder. Bills pilling up…emotions running high…tough times staring you in the face…maybe a lost job or an illness? (pause) We all carry burdens…sometimes they don’t seem so bad…but other times they threaten to drive us into the ground and nothing we do or say or think seems to make difference.

And in those times I think we hear Jesus say take my yoke upon you and it sounds like one more thing…and sometimes…sometimes in the midst of all that stuff, we hear these words from Jesus and they don’t come across as hopeful…instead they come across as a big joke…and we ask the question where are you on all this stuff?

I lost my job…and I feel that pain…I’m facing a terminal diagnosis…and I feel that fear…I lost someone I love and I’m still mourning…where are you on that one Jesus? Because this yoke of yours still feels pretty heavy. (pause)

So what do we do in those times…when the hope that Jesus offers us doesn’t really seem to be easing the pain that we’re feeling…what do we do with that? What we do when Jesus and the salvation of sin that he offers us through his death on the cross doesn’t take away the burden of life? (pause)

Well, in those times, we stop to remember just how a yoke works…and how many animals are in that yoke to begin with. Two…not one…its not one animal acting alone…a yoke takes two…sharing the load…both working hard…both straining…both having to work together to get past the task at hand…neither one of those animals is alone in their experience…and neither…are…we.

Take my yoke upon you…and I will take it upon me as well…and together we will walk through this life…we will walk through this pain…and through this burden…yes you will still experience it…life as a believer in Christ does not take the pain and stress and hurt out of life…but it does offer us the hope of knowing that we have a God that has experienced it as well. We have a God who has entered our reality…experienced the same pain…the same stress…the same hurts that we experience…and this is the same God that chooses to walk beside you while you experience yours…and I believe that when we experience the pain of life…and we mourn the reality…the first being that mourns is God himself…and whether we realize it or not…whether we want to admit it or not…whether we want it or not…he’s there…right beside us.

This is the truth of the gospel…that we have a God that loves us so much that he cannot bear to be apart from us…and since we can’t get to him…he comes to us. We can’t get up there so he comes down here…and this is the truth that is revealed to the lowly ones…this is the truth that is revealed to children…and why to children?

Well…has a child ever asked you a question? You give them the answer…and they don’t think about it…they just say “Ok.” And when a child hears the truth that God loves them and Jesus died for them, they don’t over think it…they don’t try to use their wisdom to explain it away…they just say ok…so maybe that’s why Jesus tells us to become like a child…and accept that he is there with you…in the midst of your burdens…and you are not alone. Amen.