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Just Love Them

It reminds me of a story my great uncle, who was an Air Force chaplain, told me several years ago.  He recounted the birth of his first child.  He stood there in the waiting room, nervous as he could be, and finally after what seemed like forever a nurse called him back into the nursery to meet his newborn son…

Only it wasn’t a son.  It was sons – twin boys.  Of course, back then they didn’t really have ultrasounds and sonograms.  He found out he was having twins the minute he looked them right in the face.  The nurse let him hold them both at once.  He said he remember standing there with a tiny bundle in each arm, asking God, “What in the world am I going to do?”  In that moment he imagined what God might say back to him.  The answer was, “Just love them.”

When I think back to the births of both of my own sons, I remember holding each little bundle in my arms and seeing them face-to-face for the first time.  Suddenly, I was a father.  In the soft wheezing of a swaddled newborn, the world had immediately changed.  While certainly overcome with joy and elation, I also had a healthy does of anxiety and uncertainty mixed in.  Each of those amazing events was one of those moments where I asked God “What in the world am I going to do?”  Once again, the answer came:  “Just love him.”

I think that’s really Jesus’ message to his disciples, too.  He’s preparing them for a time when he will no longer be with them, and they’ll be the ones doing ministry.  They’ll be the ones standing in front of the crowds of people, staring right into the faces of sinners of all shapes and sizes, all suffering from their own brokenness and longing to be whole people.   The disciples without Jesus will have plenty of those “What in the world are we going to do?” moments.  But then they will remember Jesus, with his wash basin and towel.  They’ll remember his example of how he expects them to treat other people.  It’s like he’s saying, “See?  It’s simple.  I’m sending you out into the world, into those crowds of people from whom I called you.  Your job?  Just love them.”

- Lee Koontz, "Just Love Them – A Maundy Thursday Sermon"
Published: March 25, 2010