Friday, April 1, 2011
A Child of God
They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 8:33-47
One of the things that I have set aside and brought with us is a silver child’s cup which was given to me at my baptism. It is inscribed with my name and birth date. It is also inscribed with my daughter Ariel’s name and birth date which my parents presented to her at her baptism. And so we have set it aside so that when Ariel’s daughter is born, her name and birth date can be inscribed also. We will probably present it to her at her baptism. Just so you don’t think I am playing favorites, I actually had three silver cups given to me when I was small and each is inscribed with one of our daughters names. Ariel’s first child is imminent; Emily and Phoebe will have theirs when the time is right for them. It strikes me how small and yet important these gifts are, from one generation to another. We are carrying on, sharing our past with their future and remembering that we are all children of God, a living God, who delights and treasures every single person, every single life that comes into the world. We are born, of water and the Spirit and God promises to be with us at every stage of our living.
Jesus was in conversation with theologians, and they were arguing every point with him. It reminded me of life in seminary, where everyone is trying to make a point and prove how smart they are and how much they have read. And Jesus keeps pointing out to them, and to us, that it is all about relationships with God-a living vital relationship-and not the accumulation of knowledge and correct arguments that makes us children of God. No one is excluded from God’s love and relationship, no matter their capacity or lack thereof. The over-educated like me have to remember that the small needy infant is as important to God as any bishop or scholar on this earth.
So today I want to focus on relationship, talking with my Creator in every breath and circumstance. I want to remember that we are all children of the living God, and enjoy God’s presence in every encounter today. May we all seek the face of God in each other, knowing that we are loved, not for our skill, wisdom, beauty or knowledge, but because God made us for love. Simply for love.