And the Smallest

Beach“People were bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

{Luke 18:15-17 NIV}

They are Welcome.

Welcome to learn, Welcome to know Jesus, Welcome to his Kingdom.

They don’t have to wait to grow up, don’t have to wait till they are quiet enough, behaved enough, eaten their veggies enough, done their schoolwork enough, he is enough for them just as they are.

This same Jesus who is enough for the sick, the healthy, the rich, the poor, the sinner, the ‘saint’, the old, is enough for the smallest ones too, they are included.

This passage speaks deep to the heart for me. From my earliest memory I remember loving God. I remember wanting to know him. I remember asking to go to church. I remember sitting on a hard wooden pew, right on the edge of it and hoping to understand more about the God I so badly wanted to know. I remember not understanding what the preacher was saying, I remember hoping I would learn. I remember being sad that I didn’t understand, and how badly I wanted too.

Then one day, in another church a little while later, I remember hearing in words I could understand that Jesus loved me, just as I was. This church didn’t say I was too young to learn, but made a way for me to ask questions and know the deep things of God in childlike language with childlike faith. They truly took hold of this passage and believed as a child I was as valuable as an adult, that I too could hear the simple message:

Mountain & Valley J L M

I will be grateful forever to the minister and his family who looked after me, to the children’s minister who spoke of the God I so wanted to know in a language I understood. They will never know the depth to which their care and investment has blessed my life immeasurably, and not because I haven’t told them, because I have over and over again. But because if I had all the words there wouldn’t be enough to say,  Thank You x

Love, Grace and Welcome for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 7 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

Mercy

Man Forest

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God I thank you that I am not like those other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said. ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 {NIV} 

From when I was a little girl, this story has gripped me. I remember sitting in the back of a kids room in the church where I grew up reading about these two men. I felt drawn to this man who whispered ‘mercy’ in such contrast to the one who proclaimed ‘Righteous’.

My heart stirred deep for the man in the story who must have summoned all his courage to enter into the temple’s court to pray. To stand alongside one who would declare himself worthy when he himself felt the ache of unworthiness. To be real in a world of smoke and mirrors. To know that what he brought could cause more shame, greater loss and humiliation before the gatekeepers of his time.

What stirs me is that he came, not counting his worthiness, not displaying his medals of morality, but drawn to the one for whom his soul thirsted. He would rather be laid bare and begging than distant and empty. It’s the story of one who will simply come because he hears the call of the one whom he longs for. But somewhere deep in his heart, he knows he has nothing to bring other than himself, and when he measures himself in relation to the one with whom he speaks he finds himself wanting.

He calls to God in the anguish of all he lacks and begs for mercy. His chest heaving with the weight of shame and guilt. Eyes low with hope unspoken. Humble.

In a great story we could hope that God will give him a way back, we hope that somehow this man doesn’t need to stay halted in this broken state. We hope for restoration, our souls are hard wired to look for it in every story, a turn that says what is broken can be made new. We look for a thread in a story that will give the smallest glint of faith a chance, bringing color to the whole story even in the dark chapters. We hope that the one who breathed life into this man and commanded his breath would know the way back, know how to help him.

This hope hard wired into us does not disappoint, for the one who tells the story, points to grace. The storyteller breathes a story that finds its meaning in him. Jesus, the beautiful saving one describes a man whose life has brought his face low to the ground, dependent on mercy. He knows the stories of the heart and declares to every one  that calls to God for mercy they will find it because those that are brought low will be exalted. His compassion spills over as we see Jesus the storyteller take the place of every person who is brought low in shame and guilt, needing his mercy.

When he declares that all who are brought low will be exalted, he stands with sinners, his feet on the dust of the earth, chapters before he walked himself to the lowest place, the most humble place, the saving place. For all who are low, he made himself lower that we might be exalted with him.

For all our shame there is a Savior, for all our guilt there is a redeemer, for all our need a God who comes to us and loves us.

Love, Grace and Hope for your Day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 5 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x