If you are anything like me, then the tumult of our times has begun to wear on you. People these days just seem so incredibly angry. I could try and articulate why I think everyone is on edge these days, but instead I would like to remind you that as followers of Jesus, he calls us to approach the world, and other people, with a spirit of generosity and kindness. When the culture around us is in a constant state of rage, Jesus’ followers represent a much better way to live. Instead of living in a perpetual state of fear, we live with an overwhelming sense that love will ultimately win the day. Yet, there are moments when we still get down in the dumps regarding all that is happening around us. I was in that place last night and it took a bedtime conversation with Evie to remind me that Jesus invites us to live in a world filled with love.
“Dad, I’ve got some great news. I love the WHOLE WORLD!!! I love this whole world more than the Christmas Tree in New York City. I love this whole world because Jesus loves the whole world!”
I smiled and I hugged my girl. Then I walked out of the room and I cried. My tears were the good kind, the happy tears, because I had just encountered something beautiful and exceedingly rare in these days. You see, we follow this guy, Jesus, who talks about faith like a child. I think that most people misunderstand what Jesus is talking about when he speaks those words. You need to remember that there is a distinct difference between “childish” and “child-like”. Of course, Jesus is referencing the latter, child-like faith, as a way of seeing the world that hasn’t become cynical and hard because of frustration and disappointment. Jesus is talking about a faith that is filled with hope, joy, and love. It’s not blind to the difficulty we face, but it still recognizes that we live in a world that God created and called good. It is a faith that loves as big as the Rockefeller Christmas Tree!
Last night, Sara and I were talking about how angry and polarized our culture (and our friends on social media) has become these days. I am worried for our country and, in particular, for the attitudes of my friends who say they follow Jesus. The anger I hear and read about is breaking my spirit. And just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, I heard my little girl tell me that she loves the whole world more than the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. I know it seems simplistic, and maybe it is, but our world simply needs more love these days. So to you, my democratic and republican, liberal and conservative, whatever you are friends, today I want you to know one thing. My family loves you more than “the Christmas Tree in New York City”. We love you…and so does Jesus.
Whether online or in person at 11:00, I hope to see you on Sunday.
Grace and Peace,