There is a song that goes:
Jesus love the little children,
All the children of the World.
Red and Yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His Sight.
Jesus loves the children of the world.
All little children belong to God, they are His by birth and by nature. Unfortunately, we all grow up, and the tendency to sin that we inherited from our parents and the whole human race flourishes, and we trade our innocence for guilt. We know that we have sinned and broken God’s law. We know that we have failed to do the good that we might have done.
Jesus has a remedy for us. In Matthew 18:2 , he says that “unless (we) turn and become like children (again), (we) will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” That is negative. To put it positively, “if we turn and become like children (again) we will enter the kingdom of heaven,” which is Matthew’s way of saying “the kingdom of God.”
There are two kinds of children in the world, not male and female; but the children of the world and the children of God. The once born and the twice born. The first is born of their parents. The second is born of their parents and then “born from above.” (John 3) The children of the world walk in darkness; but the children of God have been “translated” into the kingdom of God which is a kingdom of light.
Those who walk in darkness live in the anxious middle. Their lives are bound at one end by the darkness of the womb, and at the other end by the darkness of the tomb. They don’t know where they have come from or where they are going. Because they don’t know where they have come from, or where they are going, they don’t know what they should be doing now.
Jesus Christ delivers us from the anxious middle. The author of the 4th Gospel writes:
“He came to his own, and (some of ) his own received him not; but to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the power to become the children of God.”
One might ask, “Yes, but how do we receive Jesus?” The answer of course, is that we receive him by faith. And one might ask, “Yes, but what is faith?”
Ambrose Bierce says that faith is “believing what everyone else already knows is not so.” That is as negative as can be. The author of the Hebrews gives a more positive definition. He says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” meaning “not yet seen.” He then makes a roll call of some of the Old Testament heroes of faith, from Abel who offered a more perfect sacrifice, to Enoch who walked with God, to Noah who stood with God against the world, through Abraham, the father of all who have faith, and Isaac and Jacob, his descendants. Then he writes:
“These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it, and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
Some people say that faith is a sham, an opiate for the masses. They say that the only thing our faith offers is “pie in the sky bye and bye.” The writer of the Hebrews would agree, in part. He sees that “pie in the sky bye and bye” as a necessary part of faith, and he says says that God is not ashamed to be called the God of those who see beyond this world to that world which comes after.
Why is this? According to our Bible, it is only those who somehow see above and beyond the cares and concerns of this world that can fully engage in service to this world and its people. It is only those who walk in the light, who can extend a helping hand to those who still walk in darkness.
As we celebrate the “John Hus Communion”, we can say with certainty that the name of John Hus, who died for his faith in Jesus, belongs on the Roll Call of the Heroes of Faith. That is not so remarkable. It is much more remarkable to think that our names can be there, too. God does not always ask us to die for Him. He would rather that we live for Him. That is a truth that continues to impinge upon my life and bother me, even as it continues to impinge on your life, and bother you.
As we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Communion this morning; let us remember that the mystery of the holy communion is like the mystery of God, and all other mysteries of our faith. A mystery is not a puzzles to be taken apart and put back together again, but something so wonderful that we can only consider it a piece at a time. This morning we come into this space from the 21st century, and we have 21st century concerns, but we put them aside in order to focus on one piece of our faith, how, on the night when he was betrayed, Jesus took break, and he blessed, and broke it, and gave it to his disciples sayin, “This is my body which is given for you.” Then, after supper, the cup saying, “This is the cup of the new covenant in my blook which is shed for the remission of sin.”
Worth Green, Th.M., D.Min.