* This is the sermon I was to deliver today as part of our series entitled “Meal Times: Going Deeper with God and Others”. However, the weather decided to bless us with one last hurrah of snow and prevented us from gathering together physically. But snow cannot stop the gathering of the hearts and spirits of the Church. May you lift your palms this Palm Sunday in adoration of the One who loves us with an extravagant love.
Based on Luke 15:11-32.
I’ve really not understood terror until I became an aunt. There are a lot of ways you could take that statement so let me explain. We often go out in public with the kids. That’s still not the terror part. The terror part comes when we are in the masses and all of the sudden I can’t find my niece or nephew. A second ago, they were strangling my right leg. Now – they’ve vanished into a sea of tall, multiplying adults who suddenly look crazy and suspect. My heart begins to race, my stomach drops to the floor and every possible and impossible, horrible scenario runs through my mind. I start walking like I own a mall and panic starts to rise up in me as a scour the crowd for the little needle in the haystack that is my love.
And then, I see them. I see them mesmerized by some colorful toy or scene that drew them away from me. And all that I think and feel is relief. They are found.
I simply can’t imagine what kind of anguish one must experience when a child is really gone. But in these experiences where I lose them temporarily, I experience a small taste of it and there is nothing I wouldn’t do to bring them back to the safety of my presence.
I’ve always thought one of the most vulnerable, bravest things you can do is be a parent. An adoring aunt comes pretty close but it still isn’t the same. It is incredibly vulnerable to have a child. It is a weird feeling to see your heart walking around outside your body but that is what happens as a parent. And when you are a child, you think your parents are the strongest people in the world but parents know that the strongest love is also the most fragile, vulnerable love.
Pastor Nadia Bolz Weber posed this question recently on her blog. “There is so much talk out there about the strength of God and the mightiness of God and the awesomeness of God. But what of the vulnerability of God?”
Our God is strong and mighty and awesome. Our God is a Creator and a Parent. God has the strongest love possible for His children. Perhaps then, God also knows something about vulnerability. And I agree with Weber that it seems that the parable of the lost son is Jesus’s attempt at helping us understand the vulnerable love of God. Continue Reading…