While this has undoubtedly been a season where we wrestle with grief and anxiety, it has also been one that has included anger. Anxiety and stir-craziness makes tempers run short at home, and injustice and fear manifests itself in anger in the streets all over the country.
This week in Family Sunday School we’ll be talking about anger. Anger, like sadness and fear, is a teacher, a protector, and part of the complex, God-made way we move through the world around us. May we respond to the anger we encounter with the compassion, gentleness, and potential for healing it deserves.
In Family Sunday School this week, we’re talking about resilience, and dandelions growing up through pavement, or in my case, irises growing around the base of my deck. We’re also talking about our obligation to teach our young people that they, too, can grow, regardless — and that they are tougher than they look, as well.
Change can be deeply anxiety-inducing: there is something within us that is afraid that we won’t be OK on the other side of whatever change is coming — that we won’t be us, or that the person we are cannot adjust to some new reality. The psalmist, Hebrews, and Leviticus, all repeat this refrain: ” . . . the Lord does not change, the Lord is forever.”
In my experience of growing up and working in churches like this one, I have found that we are sometimes shy about naming the work of the Holy Spirit, feeling a little less comfortable with the God who comes in tongues of fire than God the Creator, or in Jesus. In Family Sunday School this week, we encourage our adults to listen to the stories, understandings, and testaments of children and teenagers for when they’ve seen and felt God’s presence.
As we celebrate this weekend all those who have been mothers to us, by birth or by choice, as well as all those who care for and nurture others in our world, I hope we can recognize the sacredness — the Christlikeness — in that action and honor all who display the image of God in the world around us.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day! We are all pretty familiar with the idea of God as Father, but the bible is also full of images of God as mother, particularly in the Old Testament, although Jesus refers to himself as a mother hen in multiple gospels (Matt 23:37, Luke 13:34)!