n our text Jesus promises to not go off on vacation and leave us Home Alone. I will not leave you orphaned... in a little while the world will no longer see me (physically), but you (disciples) will see me (spiritually); because I live (resurrected), you also will live.
Humans do not do well alone. Twin girls born 12 week premature, weighed just 2-pounds each, and were placed in separate bassinets. One seemed stronger and was doing just fine, but the other began slowly to fade. One of the nurses remembered an article about the treatment of preemies and the nurses decided to put little Brielle into the same bassinet with her stronger sister, Kyrie. Little Brielle snuggled up to her sister and her problems began to go away almost immediately; her heart rate became normal, her color improved. The crisis was over.
Humans do not do well when left alone. My parents learned that 10-year olds should not be left home alone: Mother arrived home from teaching school one day, only an hour after I had gotten off the school bus, to find me hanging upside down tied up in the clothesline. To this day, I do not know how I managed to do that.
Humans dont do well when left alone; especially children. TIME magazine had two lead articles on parenting this week that revolved around the Columbine High School massacre, and the related copycat school threats around our nation. One article asked, Could their parents have done anything about it? The second article, dealing with parental supervision of the internet and video games, asked, What can parents do to steer their children straight? The surveys in the articles revealed that most of us hold parents to blame for the actions of their kids, and the courts do too. Educators say that our national problem is not so much juvenile delinquents, but rather, parental delinquents.
Right here in our metropolitan area we have endured the sad story of the murder of 13-year old Josh Bellurado by an out of control 15-year old school bully. Just last Friday the young man was sentenced to life in prison and he will be 29 before he is eligible for parole. Many media reports have blamed the parents, just as parents are acclaimed when their progeny win a spelling bee. Experts seem to agree that most problems that children have are symptomatic of dysfunctional families. Parents can not depend on schools, activities, or even churches to make up for the aloneness that kids grow up with in uninvolved families. We all need to pray that out of this tragic situation healing may occur. We need to hope that youth will begin to get over their fascination with demonic forces that threaten to unravel the very fabric of our society. And, we need to pray that mothers and fathers will rediscover their leadership roles in families.
The founders of Mothers Day had the right idea when they envisioned this as a day to not only honor our individual mothers, but to honor the critical role of the hand that rocks the cradle. Mothers, and Fathers too, have the great opportunity to cooperate with God in turning protoplasm into responsible and caring adults.
Jesus has promised not to leave us alone in parenting. The same power that brought Him from the tomb can bring Him into our homes. Often times He comes to us through the sacramental nature of parenting. As God can raise up worship leaders, teachers, counselors, and preachers; in like manner He wants to utilize parenting as a ministry around the family circle. Repentance, restoration, and restitution can be the remedy for the sick family. God seeks to remold our lives in such a way that His power within us will not only help us, but more importantly, touch the lives of others, beginning at home--- any home.
My Grandmother Allred died soon after giving birth to her eleventh child. Out of that sadness came the decision to keep the family together as best they could. Only the infant, Bobby, after whom I am named, was fostered out to a neighboring family. My Grandfather, the older daughters, and my Dad, the oldest boy, all went to work. My Dad became a teenage bricklayer and brought his paycheck home. His older sisters also took little jobs as they had the opportunity, and together they reared the younger children. Not one ever committed a crime. All completed high school, and many went on to college. Four of the boys became ministers. They never received a dime from the government, but could not have survived without the help of the churches and the public schools. In later years neighbors shared that the thing they remembered most about that family was their singing. The windows would be open in the summertime and the entire community could hear those children singing the old gospel songs. Those kids had a wonderful opportunity to live out a miracle by His power.
One older gentleman at a family reunion just a few years ago, recalled how my Dads family had been used by God to change his life. He had led a wayward life as a young parent. He had not been the father that he should, but within the struggles he witnessed in that big clapboard Allred household he came to experience the power of God that made his own house into a Christian home.
All but two of the eleven brothers and sisters have gone on to heaven now, but the grandchildren, great, and great-great- grandchildren, along with some of the former neighbors, still get together at reunions and sing those same old songs. And we experience that same power from on high that has made our living possible.
Jesus said it and we have lived it out in a real way, I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live... and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.
a sermon synopsis
by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor