Sunday, March 17, 2013

Drink It In

I can imagine that thinking about what it means to be a Christian mom can be off-putting for some. Being a mom is already tough. Should Christian moms be even more self-sacrificing? Is duty something that weighs more heavily on their shoulders at the expense of themselves? We know about the to-do lists, complicated schedules, and varied familial needs that moms maneuver. Adding Christ and a tally of what-to-do's and what-not-to-do's simply adds a layer of shame to our ever expanding list of responsibilities when we fall short, right?

I don't think so. I want us to be empowered by the freedom in Christ. The freedom to mess up and find forgiveness - real forgiveness. The freedom to point our children to Christ and know that even when we fall short, his love will hold our children and bless them with wisdom. And the freedom to explore what it means to take advantage of the well of gifts and spiritual blessings that he offers us. We will all come up thirsty in the difficult task of parenting, and his living water will grant us greater peace, fulfillment, and abounding love.

I read a devotion this week about Christ as the Fullness of Life. It is a poignant reminder of the meaning of Christianity, which sometimes runs contrary to how culture perceives our faith. I invite you to read these words of Associate Pastor Ian Rankine, who is a pastor where I am Parish Associate. These words are from his Lenten devotional this year.  Drink it in:

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

When many people think of the Christian Faith, they seem to imagine a life filled with puritanical rules and regulations. A life filled with control by God or the leaders of the Church, who may be one in the same! A life that is devoid of all fun and enjoyment.

It is no wonder this is the image of Christianity, because that is often how it is portrayed. And sadly enough, it is often the reality that many non-Christians experience in the lives of Christians.

But the Christian life of which the Bible speaks is so far from the common perception. In fact, when you look at the first chapters of the Bible, you find God placing the man and the woman in the garden, and rather than giving them a vast list of commands and restrictions, He gives them complete freedom, with only one limitation.

Here we find Jesus, in John's Gospel stating very clearly the nature of the Christian life. Far from it being restrictive, it is a life of abundance, and complete Freedom in Christ. He said, I have come to give you life in all its fullness.

This is not just a promise for the future, when one day we will be complete in the presence of the Lord. But it is a reality now. Only in Christ can we live as we were made to live. Only in Christ are we made free to be who God intends for us to be...

I love Ian's devotion, because it means that we always have reason for celebration as Christians.  It is in Christ that we learn what true living is - and true freedom.  What an important message to remember as we approach Easter.  It makes me wonder what we are doing to celebrate the life-giving properties of our faith in our own families.  Are we educating our children about the meaning of Easter beyond the candy and bunnies?  Are we taking the time to root ourselves in fun, while building traditions that add value and strengthen love? 

Let's be intentional about how we approach this week.  Let's weave some play into the fabric of our lives and live like the free people Christ died for us to be.  God is not against the pillow fight past bedtime, or the piece of candy slipped before dinner.  We can take steps to take life just a little less seriously, because we worship the One who provides true life in all of its fullness.  That God has created a world that still holds wonders, and as mothers, we can appreciate that and teach it to the world.

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for making us an Easter people.  Thank you for your desire to walk with us and give us your life-giving water.  May we cling to your truth, reflect it in our lives, and teach it to our children.  May we never be done celebrating!  In Jesus' name, Amen.

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