Are you a Christmas child or Easter adult?
As children we do as we are told — more or less! — but when we mature into adulthood we choose what we want to do!
That is what separates Easter and Christmas — and identifies the men from the boys and girls from the women. In between we experience the transition from childhood to adulthood.
At Easter we have big decisions to make for ourselves, but until then we have trusted our Dad to make them for us. Even after our baptism in the years of our teens and twenties we thought we knew best and would attempt to lead Jesus where we thought we should go rather than be led by him. A bit like Peter who tried to tell Jesus he was going in the wrong direction, but was rebuked as being a stumbling block in choosing to walk the way of the world rather than doing the will of God. Peter had to be rebuked like a child. His faith was still so young.
I remember my first day at theological college and the tutor asked the group of mature students I was in who, among us, had their theology and doctrine all sorted: There was silence from the group of 40 plus year olds because we knew we were ALL still learning and growing in our faith and the tutor then said: “That’s interesting because the new young ordinands in their 20’s were convinced they knew all the answers!” How many of us have grown up from having the Christmas child in our hearts to being the mature adult giving up who we are to BE like Jesus?
I said yesterday that we can all claim to be followers of Jesus, but that word, “following”, can be understood as walking in the footsteps expecting Jesus to lead us to where we want to be OR it can mean “following” the ATTITUDE of God’s Son and to BE like him in all that we do and say. The Christmas child in us follows where we are led as we get to know Jesus, but have we grown up to be the Easter adult who knows him so well that we decide to shout for justice; sing for peace and reach out with love when the world will do anything to silence us? That’s the choice we confront at Easter and I pray for the day we will say we ARE a Church BEING like Jesus rather than FOLLOWING Jesus.
So yesterday we celebrated the new life found through the Risen Jesus, but our personal Easter can happen any day of the year and Christmas is the same. A Christ child is born today and each day one is crucified. In the stables of our poverty the hope of peace is born and on the cross of injustice the Love of God is given and between the two we are learning the will of God is for new life to rise from the darkness of the tomb to save the world. We find our child-like faith at Christmas, but at Easter we have grown-up choices to make for ourselves and when we can show the wounds of our sacrifice we have stopped FOLLOWING Jesus and have begun BEING the Church, and people, our communities are looking for.
If you haven’t felt that YOUR Easter has arrived and you need to get to know Jesus better before sacrificing too much our heavenly Dad won’t let go of your hand until you are ready! That’s how much you are loved, but you don’t be a child forever…… !
Lela Burbridge will be our guest speaker on Friday evening at 6pm and some of her reflecting will come from two books (above) she has written and which I read last year.
She writes and speaks from an experience of childhood poverty and abuse in Uganda and how God really does bring life from the ashes of childhood. On the back cover of Lela: Ashes of childhood she says: “You can choose to live with despair. You can choose to accept the life forced upon you — a life of poverty, corruption and injustice. Or, you can choose hope, the hope for a better life. My name is Lela and I chose hope.”
Virginia and myself met Lela and her family on the night we came to meet the Elders in December 2018. We had discovered Rusells for a fish and chip meal and so had they. We happened to be leaving about the same time and I said her accent sounded Ugandan — and it was. I said I had a good friend in Uganda who ran a project for orphaned children called Shalom. She knew the project. I said my friends name was Juliet — and she knew her as well. What a small world when you can meet people in a fish and chip restaurant in Broadway — but perhaps God makes it that small for a reason!
God Bless, Richard