Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
A mother was looking forward to an elegant party. Her little girl, having saved her money for a beautiful new dress, decided she didn’t want to be left with a sitter. So, while her mother was in the shower, the little girl took scissors and mutilated the beautiful new party dress. When the mother saw what had happened, she fell across the bed crying, feeling both pain and anger. When she saw her mother crying like this, the girl kept crying out, “Mommy, Mommy!” The mother ignored her. The little girl kept pulling at her and saying, “Mommy, Mommy.” The mother finally snapped, “What do you want!?!?” The little girl said, “Mommy, please take me back.”
The real problem for this child and mother was deeper than a ruined dress. It was a broken relationship, due to an awful action. As hard as it is to do, some broken relationships must be restored. This is especially true of our relationship with God.
When we become aware of our separation from God, we cry out, “God, please take us back!” What a blessing it is to realize that God NEVER forsakes us! It may feel like that when we ourselves have turned away from God. When we have done harm to our very own lives by our sin, when we have injured others and caused alienation in our relationships, we turn away from God.
God responded when humanity called out. God became one of us by sending Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” God responded by HEALING humanity’s separation, giving us Jesus, the Son, in order to restore our relationship with the divine.
Theologian Paul Tillich once preached a sermon titled, “You Are Accepted.” The heart of the Christian experience, he said, is simply accepting the fact that we are accepted by God. We are accepted and loved by God! This is not by our own doing! This is the way of God!
Being connected or re-connected to God is a gift! “Take us back, God!” we cry out. The Good News is that, in Christ Jesus, God has already taken us back. This is cause for celebration! While celebrating, we become motivated and thankful. Since being connected to God is a gift, when we open up this gift, God gives us strength, insight, and willingness to heal our relationships with others. Let’s open that gift again today! Great things will happen!