Based on John 3: 1-17
Written by Lisa King
Director of Children, Youth, & Family Ministry at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Auburn
I work with children & youth primarily, so I am no stranger to literal interpretations, or interesting questions. More than half the joy of getting to work with children are their questions & along with working with young people, I have raised 3 of my own teenagers, making me all too fluent in sarcasm. So when Nicodemus asks Jesus in verse 4, “How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” it hits my heart and funny bone. I can relate and I can hear the question being asked in the wonder of the children’s voices I get to serve, and in the ‘yeah right’ practical voices of so many youth I love, and in the “explain that” voices of my own teenagers. The answer Jesus gives, brings forth Faith for me. We can hear the wind but we can not tell where it comes from or where it is going, yet we know it’s blowing. Such is the movement of The Spirit. We don’t know where it’s going always, but we sure do know when it’s blowing us. For me, the movement of that blowing Spirit isn’t always comfortable, thought it’s always powerful and that for me is because the force behind it is Love.
“For God so loved the world, he gave His one and only son….” I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around a love THAT big. I have one son and I can not even begin to start to possibly imagine comprehending giving him up for the greater good. What an absolutely phenomenal love story God has with us. That God LOVES us that much? Wowzers. That no matter how broken or imperfect or less than we may feel, God loves us with the greatest love known, all of us, every single teeny tiny flawed & perfect particle of us. God loves us soooooooo much that God sent God's only son to face the despair & pain & fear of the cross for us. I can’t even think of a way to convey that HUGE of a love or measure it or describe it. All I do know is that I am so very grateful for it, that when the world seems down to nothing & I feel all the negativity too much, I rely on that huge, all encompassing love to wrap its arm around me and carry me through.
When I am caught in the spiral of despair and I find myself beating myself up for my mistakes or what I can’t do or didn’t do, or the could of, would of, should ofs hit hard, I just remind myself that if God loves me so much God sent God's son for me; who am I not to try to love myself?
It’s extremely important for me to share that message with all the people in my life, young, old, children or adults. The message of the greatest love story and the message of this: if God loves us that much, it should be our job to go out into the world and love all people without ever questioning if they are deserving. I'm definitely not always deserving and God sure loves me anyways. God never, not ever, stops loving me in fact, or you, no matter what we do or don’t do. So that’s what I try to do every single day. Love is my get down because God loved me first and through Grace continues to love me no matter what. Go out in the world and choose to lead with love this week, in all things, with all people, the rewards cannot be measured.
Peace & love be with you.