Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stone Children

"I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham." Matthew 3:9

On the edge of the ocean, right at the high tide line, one can always find small stones and shells that have been tossed about by the waves only to be deposited and left behind in the sand as the water recedes. The powerful ocean can capture and move just about anything and everyone when it is riled up. And when it calms and draws back, the small and large alike are stranded in the sun. No matter how careful people are, they can get caught up in a rip tide and carried far from home, sometimes never to return.

People came to John, confessing their sins to be baptized by John, in preparation for Jesus. They were caught up in a high tide of anticipation. Some were anxious to be righteous. But some were not anxious to be righteous, as much as they were to be right and in charge. They were not willing to be humble. They were anxious to go through the motions so that everyone knew they were important, the chosen few who knew how to govern the life of faith for everyone. They were not willing to be the pebbles and broken shells aching for God's love on the edge of the river Jordan. And so John reminded the haughty religious leaders who were crushing others under their righteous feet, that God could raise up these pitiful stones and make them children of the living God. It is the time of year to move beyond our haughty religious security and examine our hearts. Do we love truly love God by demonstrating compassion to those thrown and tossed aside by life? Do we truly act like a family or do we see others only as stepping stones to greater glory?

A vulnerable little child is coming. The Son of God is coming and will see the truth of our welcome or dismissal of others. Going home this Christmas requires that we become stone children, the children raised up from the smallest and least among the broken stones left behind. Jesus reaches over the edge of a crude cradle, drags his tiny hand in the sand and dust, inviting us to live. To live for God and one another. I want to answer that invitation today - to live with compassion for the miserable other stone children right next to me. And I invite you to do the same. "Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus."