Today’s scriptures are an interesting mix. In Corinthians, Paul preaches the Gospel to save at least some. Paul says that believers are like athletes. We train and run to win an imperishable crown. The psalmist proclaims that the Lord withholds no good thing. And in the Gospel readings, an incredible contrast. In Luke, Simeon tells Mary that her child, Jesus, is destined for great things. In John, Mary stands at the foot of the cross as Jesus turns the responsibility for his mother over to his disciple, John.
I wonder what Mary thought the day Jesus was crucified. I can think of nothing worse than having to bury a child. Nothing. Did Mary understand what the sacrifice was for? Did she wonder why this had to happen? Was there a reason? Where was Simeon’s blessing and promise? I would guess that she was simply overwhelmed with grief. With 2000 years of hindsight, I can marvel at and give thanks for Christ’s gift and sacrifice. Did Mary understand?
My wife and I recently attended the funeral of a friend’s son. Dead of a drug overdose. Just thinking about it still makes me angry and brings tears to my eyes. What an incredible waste. Why did this happen? What possible purpose could this death serve? And yet, even while I sat in the church pew, I saw many of this young man’s friends sitting with their mothers as they wept. Perhaps some lessons were being learned. I hope so.
God’s creation can be a puzzling thing. Some days are glorious and you wish they would never end. God’s plan seems clear and perfect. Some days are so bad that you just have to make it through and they seem like they will never end. God’s plan is not my plan. I had one of those days recently. I’m one of those Neanderthal parents who thinks my most fundamental responsibility is to get food into the mouths of my kids. Failure to feed my children is failure on the most basic level. Well, the morning started with everyone getting up late. Breakfast was skipped and kids ran out of the house with no lunch or lunch money. I arrived late to work and walked into the middle of a staff meeting. The first question for me was, where’s the cake? I order and pick up the cake when someone in the office has a birthday. The failures were mounting up. As I walked out to get the cake it began to rain. I looked to the sky and asked God if a lightning bolt wouldn’t be quicker and easier. As I hurriedly drove to the bakery, it seemed I was hitting every red light in town. Sheesh, was God punishing me for not feeding my kids? At the next light, I stopped and saw an elderly gentleman standing in the rain outside his car. I rolled down my window and asked if he needed some help. He had run out of gas. Could I take him to a gas station? His name was Curtis and he was desperate to get to work on time. We got the gas, got back to his car and I’m confident Curtis made it to work on time. I picked up the cake and headed back to work with a new heart. It’s funny how quickly we can go from broken to whole, from doubt to faith. Sometimes it’s hard to understand, but the psalmist is right, the Lord withholds no good thing.
At times, we can fall into some pretty deep, dark pits. However, the glory of faith in Christ is we always have that seed of hope. We have a loving creator and we were created for a purpose. To serve God and man. My prayer this day is for those of us who have fallen into the pit. That we can still see the light of Christ.
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook