May 10th, 2020
Happy Mother's Day!! We hope you have a joyous Sunday. Thank you for all that you do for us each and everyday!
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Sermon: Nursery for a newborn baby
Robert Munsch wrote a song about their two precious children after both pregnancies resulted in still born births. His song was entitled: “Love Your Forever.” He wrote that he couldn’t sing his song because every time he began to sing, he started crying. It felt very strange to have a song in his head that he couldn’t sing. Much later, he published a children’s book by the same title, but retail sales for his book were quite slow. Much to his surprise, the book began to sell very well in to elderly people in retirement communities. The initial illustration shows a new parent holding his tiny baby in his arms. The final picture in the book shows a grown man holding his aging mother in his arms. These are the stirring lyrics to his sweet little song:
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” I had always considered this passage from John 14 to be an emotional farewell from Jesus to his disciples. Repeatedly, Jesus had predicted his betrayal, death, and resurrection, but the news was not well received. His followers must have been in denial, refusing to believe that such an event was impossible. Peter was the most vocal, saying that this would never happen. So it comes as no surprise that Jesus began with this consolation: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” About twenty-five years ago, we attended a memorial service for a tiny baby, who died soon after his birth in the neonatal facility at the hospital. God was preparing us then for the loss of our grandson, John Douglas, who was born prematurely at 27 weeks. Doctors tried everything to keep little John alive--- experimental drugs, a ventilator, emergency surgeries, and round the clock care in the NICU in Sacred Heart Hospital. Baby John died eight months later, but never came home from the hospital. Our pastor, Rev. David Chunn, prepared a sermon for this precious child using the scripture from John 14. I will never forget his remarks, which gave all in attendance a new outlook on these stirring verses in God’s Word. David asked each parent in attendance at the funeral to recall the days of preparation before the birth of their children. Many mothers attended baby showers, where each was showered with precious gifts for her unborn baby. Clothes were so tiny--- “size onesies.” Baby shoes were smaller than my thumb. Blankets, quilts, wrapping blankets were combined with colorful sheets, tiny pillows, and pads, which protected the baby from crib rails. Furniture included cribs, changing tables, a chest of drawers, and of course a rocking chair. Dad helped by painting the nursery, adding a decorative wall paper border featuring pastel colors, flowers, and tiny animals. We went to all this trouble to prepare a place for a child we had yet to meet, even when we didn’t know whether the baby would be a boy or a girl. Instead of choosing pink or blue, we selected pale greens and yellow fabrics, which would go well with any new baby. If we eagerly made all these arrangements for an unborn child, how much more will God do in making ready for our arrival in heaven? Jesus assured his disciples, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” There will be plenty of space for you and for me. How can we be sure? Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms.” Long before we were born, Jesus went to prepare a place for us. Each room is specially prepared just for each one of us. God will be expecting us. Everything will be perfect. Jesus made all the necessary preparations. We rush home from work to drive our expectant mothers-to-be to the hospital. Families gather in the labor room or wait patiently outside in the maternity waiting room. Doctors and nurses determine when each child will be born, standing ready to welcome each precious child into the world. Jesus promised that he would return to earth so that we might be where he is also. He will drive the car, secure a wheelchair, and escort us through the gates of heaven. A host of God’s angels, including members of our family, will be anxiously waiting for our arrival. At the moment we are reborn to new life, those angels will be praising God and welcoming us into our heavenly home. Can you envision such a place? The Apostle John gives us a glorious glimpse in Revelation 4:1-8, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this." Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightning, thundering, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" Many people concentrate on planning a funeral or memorial service. These arrangements are difficult in the midst of our grief. Funeral homes charge a healthy sum for their services—the casket, clothing, hairdresser, guest book, remembrance folders, music, receiving flowers, holding the service, transporting the casket in a hearse, opening the grave, securing a proper grave stone, and conducting the graveside farewell.
All of these expensive arrangements are not for the soul of the departed, but rather for the survivors who live. The real celebration of new life does not occur on earth, but rather in heaven. This celebration is far more expensive than any earthly service. God gave his Only Begotten Son, his precious Son Jesus, to die on the cross so that we might live. You cannot purchase a ticket to heaven. Travel agents can’t help you. Admission is restricted only to those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who died to save us from our sins. He is the Only Way. His words are the most important Truth. He is the only source of Everlasting Life. Are you ready for the good news for today and every tomorrow? Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. The nursery is ready.
Welcome home, precious child of God!