So this past Friday the kids had a day off school so we decided to use these free passes that we had for Science World before they expired. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Science World (which I think was/is called Telus World of Science now or for a while), but it is a lot of fun (or it was before a lot of their exhibits and stuff went out of order and in need of repair… also the restaurant in there is pretty run down now). It’s like a place for us grown ups to see things through the eyes of a child again.
Also a place for children to see through the eyes of… uh… themselves. That is, if they even want to go.
That was the case for us this past Friday, one of the offspring for whatever strange reason didn’t want to go. Although we’ve been in the past and had a lot of fun, this one kid decided to be grumpy and sulk the whole car ride there (ended up having a lot of fun, but the ride out was torture).
This got me thinking, we adults often enjoy seeing things like a kid, but we probably won’t be lining up to give up our independence, our wisdom from our years, and especially our paycheques. We might admire the innocence of a child, but no way we’d want to be a child again. For many of us, especially here in the west, have just accomplished and gained too much, that being a child again would negate all of that power and authority and make us subject to having to listen to our parents again.
Even for those of us who had great childhoods, I don’t know if we’d want that again. Early 20’s maybe, but not childhood.
The story of Nicodemus approaching Jesus by night has many different lessons for us, but one that one that I heard from Rev. Matthew Skinner of Luther Seminary of Minneapolis is one that I’m not sure I’ve heard before. He focused on Nicodemus’ reaction to Jesus saying that he has to be born again, which is asking how someone could be born again after having grown old. The thought that Matt Skinner had was Nicodemus was rejecting the idea of being born again not because it doesn’t make any scientific sense, but because he doesn’t want to give up having grown old, the experience and wisdom, and probably the prestige that came with the long list of accomplishments and accolades that came with it. He didn’t want to have to start over.
But of course, Jesus wasn’t talking about a literal rebirth, in that it’s totally true that no one can crawl back into their mother’s womb (nor would I imagine anyone would want to), but to have our minds transformed by the newness and graciousness of the gospel. But even in that, it might be too much. It’s hard for us to give up what we know. It’s hard to change how we think. It’s hard to unlearn what we’ve learned and see the world in a whole different way.
This is what we are invited to. The gospel of Jesus Christ is one that changes who we are and how we see things. It changes how the world is interpreted and treated. It changes our love for God and each other. In that in the hierarchy of power and importance that the world puts on us is set aside and we are able to see how we are all equal in the eyes of God, equal as dearly beloved, equal as God’s own children – reborn by faith and Spirit, and brought into newness of abundant life.
Giving up the promises of the world isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it could be extremely liberating in knowing that who we are and whose we are don’t have to be up to us and what we can do, but rather by the grace of a God who has already declared us as God’s people living in God’s kingdom.
This is the gospel of our Lord. Thanks be to God.
Have a great week, everyone!