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First St Johns May 11, 2014
We pray to our Father, because our Lord Jesus told us to start our prayer “Our Father…” mothers give us life, but to all of us who are in Christ, we have life and have it more abundantly. You are everywhere Father, yes you gave us mothers to give us life, to be there for us, to encourage, to comfort, to belong. We thank you for our mothers who gave us life, but true life is only in Jesus, eternal/abundant life is only in Him, Your Son, our Lord. Man, woman, mother, father, child, we are all sheep to Him who is the Good, the Great Shepherd. He is the Door to eternal life, He protects us from the stranger, the accuser, the liar. Satan knows he does not have eternal life, he knows that he is doomed to damnation and because of that He sees us, Your children, and hates us because we are secure in Jesus. But he continues to try to move us away from life, if he has to suffer, he wants all of us to suffer. Misery does love company and he is a miserable, bitter being. Thank you Father for our mothers, for those who sacrifice so much of their life for us, but more importantly thank You for the Good Shepherd who sacrificed for us eternally and sacrificed all for us. We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who thank God for life in a faithful mother and for an eternal Savior said… AMEN!
Happy Mother’s Day, we have some small gifts for you and we hope that you enjoy your day. A woman recounts: “she had just returned from renewing my license at the County Clerk’s office. When asked to state an occupation she hesitated. The clerk explained, ‘Do you have a job, or are you just a …?” “Of course I have a job the woman snapped, I’m a mother.” “We don’t list ‘mother’ as an occupation … ‘housewife’ covers it’, said the clerk emphatically.
“I’m a research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.”
The clerk paused, looked up as if she didn’t understand. I repeated the title slowly as the clerk wrote my pompous pronouncement on the questionnaire.
“Might I ask, just what you do in your field?’
She heard herself reply, ‘I have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn’t) in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and out). I’m working for a Masters (the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters).
I often work 14 hours a day. But the job is more challenging than most run of the mill careers and the rewards are in satisfaction rather than just money.”
She writes: “As I drove into our driveway buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants ages 13, 7, and 3, upstairs I could hear our new experimental model (six months) in the child development program…
I felt triumphant. I had gone down on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than ‘”just another …. Home what a glorious career. Especially when there’s a title on the door.”
Moms are definitely a vital part of God’s plan for the world, God’s plan of life, of the ultimate perfect world. I was just reading some research, that found that the person who has the most influence on a man to become part of a church family, is his wife, usually when she becomes the mother of his children. Wives give life to the children and also, in many cases, open the door to spiritual life.1
It’s one of those tough ministry calls, it’s Mother’s Day and it’s also “Good Shepherd Day”, might seem to be a conflict, but actually they complement each other. We take time to remember mom, but we are together here in the Body of Christ and so we remember He who is the ultimate life giver. In our reading today in John 10 we read my favorite line in Scripture, Jesus telling us “I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” To be sure mom gives us life in the flesh but remember Nicodemus’ confusion when Jesus tells him he must be born again: “Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4) Jesus replies: “”Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (Jn 3:5) God gives us physical life through our mothers, and we have life for a few decades, but through Jesus we are born again, born in God the Holy Spirit and we have life eternal.
Having life and life more abundant, does start in this life. Our life in Christ, Jesus who is the Lord of our life, who saves us in life from the slavery of sin that we see all around us. The deceiver tries to convince us that the so-called pleasures of life in the world are what is important. But in Christ we have no doubt that these pleasures result in sin, sin is pain, it is slavery, it is death. It looks good on the surface, but the result is always misery and loss. It is eternal loss, versus eternal life. The Greek word zwh, yes, you might have heard that as a girl’s name, is a word that Jesus uses so emphatically. It has such an emphatic meaning throughout the New Testament, it is used to mean “…eternal life, i.e. that life of bliss and glory in the kingdom of God which awaits the true disciples of Christ after the resurrection.”2 The promise of life should give us a great assurance, we trust that Jesus secures eternal life for us, that we will live forever, that we won’t just all of a sudden simply disappear. Our soul rebels at the idea that we will be here one moment and then gone the next. But our soul can’t reconcile that conflict, the worldly person can’t see any way to escape this. They don’t know Jesus’ promises of eternal life, there just has to be another way they rationalize, a way that will be on their terms and in their plan, but they will never be able to do that, they live with this constant struggle in their soul. We as Christians are called to show them the promises of Christ, to turn to Him for the peace that they see in us. Let us have Christian compassion and help them in their rebirth into the peace, mercy and eternal life in Christ. We take time in daily prayer to come before Him who gives us life more abundantly and we come to be a part of the Body of Christ every Sunday to worship Him, to give Him thanks for our eternal life. But it’s not some eternal life that is some kind of grayish/ghostly existence that pagans believe in. He promises abundant life. The Greek word perisso,j which means extraordinary, remarkable, profuse, beyond measure.”3 I’m sure you wonder why I refer to the Greek so often, but when Jesus is talking to us, He is using words that we hear in a mundane sense, but that He intends for us to understand in a sense that is extraordinary, His words are intended to be wondrous and assuring.
He gives us moms to give us love, assurance, that warmth that is only an inkling of His abundant love and promise. Dr Luther makes this observation of the devil and the world: “…who takes pleasure in shaming us most miserably and embittering us among ourselves, causing nothing but murder and misery and tolerating no peace or concord between brothers, between neighbors or between husband and wife.”4 That is what the world knows. It knows the love of mother, but in too many cases even that “love” is misery, it does not bring peace, but continued conflict and difficulty. We are thankful Lord for those who know what it is to be a mother in Jesus, we pray Lord that more mothers will come to know the peace, love and life that is in Jesus and bring their children to know life and life more abundant in Him. Eve has taken a lot of hits throughout history, but we need to remember her and all mothers in Todd Wilken’s words: “Eve’s creation is unique in all creation. Eve is the only creature made from another creature. She is made from Adam.
Adam calls her what she is, Eve: “Life, the Mother of all the Living.”
An afterthought? Far from it! Eve is the genesis in Genesis. Without her there is only Adam. With her, there is humanity.
Moreover, without this woman, there is no “woman’s seed;” there is no Jesus. With her, there is Jesus, the new Adam, the New Creation.
Eve, you’re not an afterthought. You’re the Mother of the Promise.
Jesus is the Promise, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, the Good Shepherd who guides us, protects us from the “stranger”, inspires us, gives us eternal, abundant life.
We are thankful to you Father for mothers who are used by You as you give us physical life, who sacrifice so much of their life to make us men and women in Jesus. We are thankful to You Father for a great Savior who gives us life eternal, abundant, beyond measure. After the stroll through the street fair over on Market St and the gifts and the dinner, this evening when you are home, take some time to remember the giver of life, how He has chosen you, man or woman, to give physical life and how you can be not just a good father and mother to the children you have given birth to, but how you can be a good “spiritual” mother or father to help in the birth of children in Christ, true life in Him, who do you know that the Spirit is leading you to, to be used by God to give birth in eternal life. What does abundant life mean to you and how do you live abundantly today and through all eternity?
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.