Monday, May 11, 2009

Jesus Loves You Like Your Mom

In the sermon text today, Jesus cries out for Jerusalem and likens His love for Israel to the love of a mother. That might seem a little strange, since we tend to emphasize a kind of masculinity that is rough and tumble and courageous and so on. But Paul writes something similar in 1 Thess. 2, when he says that he and Timothy and Silvanus ministered among the Thessalonians with gentleness, and just so we know what Paul means, he tells them specifically, that they ministered among them as “a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” Paul says that his apostolic ministry was done with the love of a nursing mother for her little ones. Again, it may seem strange to us who labor to be faithful to our callings as men and women. Isn’t Jesus confusing the categories a bit? Aren’t the feminists going to make hay with the suggestion that pastoral ministry is like a mother caring for her nursing babies? Well perhaps they will, but our calling is to be faithful to the Scriptures wherever they lead. And part of the reason we get feminists is because men define masculinity by GQ and Sports Illustrated and the NRA rather than by the Word of God. But one of the prominent ways Wisdom is pictured in Proverbs is as a woman. She is a woman who builds her house, prepares a feast, sets her table, and cries out for the simple to come and dine with her. She is a mother who cries out for the simple children to eat her bread and drink her wine. And then Jesus comes, and John tells us that in the beginning was the Logos, the Word, the Wisdom of God, and that Wisdom was with God, and that Wisdom was God, and that Wisdom became flesh and dwelt among us. And perhaps this begins to explain why Jesus can say that He loves Israel like a mother hen and why Paul can say that He ministered to the Thessalonians as a nursing mother. The only kind of wisdom there is, is the wisdom of God, which is Lady Wisdom. Jesus had Her. Jesus as the glory of the Father, revealed her to us. And it is Jesus who still possesses her, and pours out her Spirit upon those who ask. Furthermore, when Jesus calls us to this table, we cannot miss the fact that Jesus calls us here with the love of a mother, the voice of wisdom crying out to simple children to come and forsake foolishness. There are lessons in this for all of us, men, women, and children. But perhaps the greatest lesson is the love of God for us. God calls us back here to his feast of wisdom, week after week, and He calls us back to this table. Are you simple? Then come. Are you like a little child who keeps failing and messing up? Then welcome. This feast is for you.

No comments: