Do you like fire? Not like burning buildings down or anything, but enjoy looking at a flame on a candle perhaps? I believe there is something universal about humans and our attraction to fire. The warmth, the light, the comfort it provides.
Matt (my husband) and I love watching those survivor shows like Survivor Man or Man vs. Wild. It’s amazing how they say that fire is so necessary not only for warmth or to cook any animal they hunted/trapped/found, but also because psychologically, it helps men to feel comfort and hope and empowers them to carry on.
The readings this Sunday have a central theme… God loves us… but in order to truly love Him back, we must remain free… free to choose and free to act. Because of this freedom, and the temptations we face, humanity often chooses wrong… This was the case for the Israelites for a lonnnnngggg time. But that’s not how the story ends.
You see, the first reading and Psalm tells us about the Hebrew people and how God used to send them angels and prophets and messengers of God warning people to turn away from Sin and to love the Lord! But alas, they not only did not listen to these prophets, but they also tormented the prophets! That’s almost like spitting directly into God’s face. Not. Good.
So, the Babylonian Exile happens-the Jewish people are cast out of their Promised Land, their temple destroyed, and those who survived this hostile takeover were made as slaves. I can almost hear God say to them, “You see?! I warned you!!!” But instead of an, “I told you so” God has a different message.
God gave us Jesus as a response to our bad choices: THE ultimate act of Mercy. One of the most well known verses in scripture is a part of our Gospel reading, John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.”
God never gives up on us. In fact, he loves us SO MUCH, that he gave his only Son SO THAT we could be with Him forever in heaven. We could not and do not earn that privilege. It is a gift to us. The most beautiful and humbling gift we could ever receive.
Jesus is more than some holy guy who taught us something. He did more than a few miracles back in the day. Jesus is real. He is alive today. He is the answer we are all looking for. His passion, death and resurrection make our entrance into heaven a possibility. This is what lent prepares us for-to celebrate this enormous gift.
Jesus is our light. He is the fire that warms us, sustains us, comforts us, gives us hope, instills in us the desire to do good and to spread those same attributes to the world around us.
When we know Jesus and choose to love like him, we shed light into the darkness that is the world around us. I am tired of the dark, you guys.
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” ~St. Catherine of Siena
Word up. I am Stacy, the youth minister of this amazing group of teens. I have 4 kids of my own, 2 heaven babies and like 60 teens I consider very large children of my own.