These readings point us to love as a way of life: love’s healing power is in the reading from Acts; the love willing to sacrifice for the sake of others is in I John; and the love of the shepherding God in John 10.
I have wondered how we experience and live in such love. How is it that love grows in the human heart? And can we nurture that shepherding love: experiencing it from God, and sharing it with others? As St. John might say it, “How do we become the loving children of God?”
The loving children of God. Last week in children’s time, the theme was childhood. I asked the children of St. Johns what was the most important thing about being a child. Their four answers were significant. They described how we become the loving children of God, sensing we are loved and sharing compassion with others.
Last week Kelsey said that the most important thing about a child is that your parents, family and friends love you and that you are surrounded by people who care for you. This loving presence in childhood nurtures the human spirit and gives us the capacity all through life to both give and receive love, compassion, and grace.
Of course there are times when family life becomes difficult, or when the stresses of life together and its responsibilities seem more like a burden than a joy. And sometimes family life is shattered. But it is in, with, and under the presence of those who love us that we discover and come to know the love of God. As John once said: let us love one another. The most important thing about a child is that your parents, family and/or friends love you: that you are embraced by people who care for you.
Last week Anika said that the most important thing about being a child was to remember that childhood does not last forever, so enjoy it while you are a child. Part of love is joy. And the secret of joy is living in, delighting in, and giving thanks for the time that we have, the present, the now. Enjoy life. It is too short to spend so much of it worrying or in anger or sorrow. Yes, there are many things that can weigh us down. But the childhood secret to loving happiness is finding ourselves focused on the present blessings we have rather than our failures or limits or fears. As the readings this morning tell us: we can live in this present joy because even though all things come to an end, we are cared for by a loving shepherd who will see us through it all. Remember that childhood does not last forever, so enjoy it while you are a child.
Last week Truman said to remember that children heal. And children heal more quickly than adults. Here Truman moves us into the miracle of healing that takes place in the human body and spirit. Yes we suffer illness, trauma, and profound loss. And yet we recover. We heal. We move on. Healing is the miracle of recovery and new life.
Now Truman noted that children heal quickly. And that is true. Those of us who are older know that it takes us longer to heal. But even in the later years the miracle of healing still takes place in many care facilities, until the time comes for that final healing.
I think what Truman was sharing is something we adults might call resilience. Children heal quickly. They are resilient. Resilience is that capacity to get up and get going again. In resilience we meet the loving God who gives us the strength to heal and go on. Remember that children heal. And children heal more quickly than adults.
And then finally last week Caden decided that he would “pass” on the question. He didn’t want to answer it. In childhood it is alright to pass. We don’t need do everything right, answer all the questions, solve all the problems. We can just let go a bit, letting others in the group help us along. We can pass. And as adults we can give ourselves permission not to have all the answers, not to solve all the problems, not to completely get everything right. And occasionally we need to pass and even pass on to others what needs to be accomplished. For the love of God accepts us, holds us, and heals us, especially when we are not sure what to say. It’s alright. And being a child means accepting how all right we are.
We can pass. We heal quickly. We live in the now. We are surrounded by the ones who love us. That’s all there is to knowing the love of the shepherding God. And knowing that love, we are given the courage to share compassion and kindness with all those in need. Loved by the shepherd, we are given the courage to call for the love of all people whatever their circumstances. We can pass. We heal quickly. We live in the now. We are surrounded by the ones and the One who love us.