Repost from Facebook Notes July 29, 2015
Last week was a strange week. Amidst the news of Marines and a Sailor being gunned down not so very far from where I live (only a state away), and selling baby parts being not only excused but lauded by some, I found myself unable to really look at my news feed, and unable to respond. On Thursday, after reading one of the many articles about the Planned Parenthood tapes, I had to tune out Facebook and the news and the chatter for the rest of the week because I was in tears, and I didn’t have time for that. I had to prepare for the fourth night of Bible study, where we teach the cross to children. This is the third year where I have found myself in the exhilerating, and somewhat terrifying, position of preaching the Gospel of God to little people. And it is preaching. There is no exegetical study. There are no little anecdotes. Kids are a strange breed. They don’t need the trappings, and you have to keep it simple. It leaves you with nothing between you and sharing God’s Word in a way that will make it totally real and tangible for kids who are facing the struggle of growing up in a world of plenty, and plentiful depravity.
It requires focus. It requires allowing yourself to see the Scripture with fresh eyes. To suspend your disbelief as you walk through paper rocks, dip your hands in plastic buckets on water colored plastic sheeting, and dip your finger in paint to place a mark on a paper covered cross that usually sits outside in the weather. Kids don’t need all the bells and whistles we seem to require as adults. Instead, they need for you, the person speaking to them, to step into the story of God, and let yourself feel the reality of those things that happened millenia ago in the here and now. Thursday always makes me cry. It’s a hard thing to look in the beautiful faces of these cherubic 5-12 year old kids and tell them they are sinners. That the things they will do in their lives will break God’s heart. I speak to them of being mean to siblings and friends, not listening to their parents, and other sins that children commit, mostly because they don’t yet understand what sin is. And at the same time, I am sure they hear in my voice the ache I have for them knowing that some day those sins won’t be so innocent. One day, they will no longer be cherubic little children, they will be wilfull adults, some of them wandering far from God. They will be lost and alone, their souls torn either by their own sins, or by the growing evil of sin in the world around them.
It may seem a little cruel to preach sin to little kids like that. But, I have found, and apparently so have the writers who create the VBS curriculums that I use as a basic guideline for what I teach, that there is no way to share with children the beauty of the cross without first sharing and helping them to understand the heart break of the need for the cross. This year Friday was even harder, because I made a little girl cry. Friday was the power of God to love us forever, and talk of heaven. But, again, when we speak of that immense and unimaginable glory of living in God’s presence forever, we cannot really share the beauty of it without acknowledging the pain we will face and are facing in the here and now. We live in a world where people die, people starve, friends turn on each other, wars wreak havoc. We live in a world where people calmly sip wine as they discuss dismembering babies before they are born in a way that will let them sell the body parts when they are done. How can we hope to share the hope of victory and glory found in the Gospels and Revelation if we do not acknowledge the fallen state of our current world? How can I look in the face of a child and expect them to take me seriously when I offer them that hope without helping them know that God is with them in their pain, even though the pain is still present?
All these things came back to me today, now rested and recuperated from doing my best to keep my brain silent and let God speak last week, now after having had a day to put my office back in order and start to return to some semblance of order out of the chaos of summer in the church. Another video was released today. I haven’t watched it, or the others. I don’t really have to to know what it shows. But, it reminded me of the heart wrenching tears I had to let flow and then set aside last Thursday afternoon before leaving. It reminded me that God did not say to remain silent that day, He only told me I needed to focus elsewhere for that moment. It reminded me that I had read in that article something that needed to be spoken, more so now after a week of being reminded that our children need us.
There was a man in that article who claimed to be a Christian abortion provider. He made a statement that compared the leader of Planned Parenthood to Christ and the way the crowd turned on Him from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. I cannot speak to the evil in the hearts of men and women who’s only God is self or money or convenience. I cannot speak to the depravity present in those who do not live in the state of grace that convicts us of sin, helps us repent and allows us to walk with God covered by the forgiveness offered in the blood of Christ. They are lost, and my heart breaks for the evil they do in the world, but it also breaks for them because that evil is destroying them as surely as it is destroying others. I will not speak to those who are so given over to evil that they glory in washing in the blood of babies rather than being humbled and washed in the blood of the Lamb. My heart is hard toward them, but they are revealing themselves to the world at an alarming rate, and God will deal with them when the time comes.
I will however speak to this man, and all the other like him, who profess Christ with their lips and betray Him with their hearts and actions. These are the things this Christ you claim had to say about children:
Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Psalm 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
John 16:21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
Matthew 21:15-16 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ” ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’ ?”
Matthew 18:2-6 He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Matthew 18:10 “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
Mark 10:13-16 “People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”
To these people who speak blaspheme as they compare Christ cruicified to unspeakably sinful men and women, I would also add these words of Christ.
Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
Christ crucified bore the fruit of a resurrected savior and redeemer. The hope and salvation of a world lost in sin. The fruit of Planned Parenthood, and all those who promote baby murder dressed up in pretty language is clear: piles of dismembered little ones, torn to pieces, sold for parts, and whatever is not useful thrown on the trash heap. Examine the fruit and repent, lest you be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Pray always and glorify the Lord.