Today’s Word from Pastor Tom Kidd…
I think that when I was a child, a small child, I wasn’t afraid. I believe that is true. This observation comes by way of 45 years as a pastor watching children, and 44 years as a parent. So, I’m thinking that if the scores of children whose lives I have been blessed to be a part of came by fear as a learned experience, then that was most likely my experience, too. When I was a small child, I was not afraid. I believe that.
It is no longer true. I also believe that when I was a small child, I could dance. I watch children dance long before they can walk, so I assume that, too, was my experience. I am not a particularly good dancer now. Probably in part because of the before-mentioned fear. For fear of doing something poorly or wrong, it is easier to just not do it. A small child doesn’t have performance anxiety; a small child just enjoys their body, and does not grade how it moves. A child dances… and sings… and draws… and laughs… and is not afraid. Unless the child has been taught to be afraid.
It is not my thought; it is not original, but it is true… fear is the antidote to creativity. You can never have a creative thought if you are afraid of doing it wrong. Sadly, we teach our children to be afraid in part because “doing it right” is the standard for life. Am I wrong? I know early on in life I learned to be very careful about raising my hand for fear of giving the wrong answer. It was a Buddhist Monk who quietly challenged my world view when he asked, “What is the opposite of a great truth?” Seemed obvious to me, but then he provided an unexpected answer, “Often it is another great truth.”
Death is bad. True? But Good Friday did not have the last word. Three days later, Easter happened. Easter was God being pretty creative!
We all can agree that pandemics are very bad, but difficult times make for creative opportunities for living, creative ways to love your neighbor, your church, the world. Each act of love in these difficult days is an affirmation that Easter wins. I love the words of Matthew 11, beginning with verse 25…
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure… Come to me you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus rested in God’s love for him. That was his yoke. Put it on, life is so much more bearable, even meaningful, when we are set free from sin – free from the fear of doing it wrong – and then rest comes to us, and the burdens of life are so much less onerous because it is clear that God loves us. You are as profoundly loved as an innocent infant. Go live, dance, quit worrying about the screw-ups, be God’s agent of grace even in the midst of social distancing because, per Pastor Jim, we are one day closer to Easter winning, even over Covid-19.
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