The sermon topic yesterday was “The Hope of Every Parent,” a suitable topic for Mother’s Day. Yet when I looked at the two readings for the morning I was a bit confused by the second, Revelation 21:1-7 (NIV). I decided perhaps I should wait to see what the pastor had prepared for us.
The first reading came from Mark 10:13-16 (NIV), clearly suitable for Mother’s Day:
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
A familiar passage, Mark is showing clearly that there is enough room in God’s Kingdom for the youngest to the oldest, and he is instructing his listeners to the attitude and demeanor that is most pleasing to Our Heavenly Father. As children, we enjoyed the image of being loved by Jesus with His arms about us and His hands touching us. As parents, we draw comfort from these words and the knowledge that our children are important to God in His Kingdom.
But what about the words found in Revelation 12:1-7(NIV)? How do they fit into Mother’s Day?
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
As the pastor delivered his message, clarity struck in the hearts and minds of many of us who are parents. You could hear somewhat audible responses to parts of the sermon.
For example, in the first paragraph, John talks of seeing “‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” He tells us a loud voice reassured with the words “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
And then our hearts soar with the message that “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!” in the next paragraph and verse. Everything new! All of us, all of creation.
Lastly, in the very last sentence of the third paragraph, God tells John and us that “I will be their God and they will be my children.”
Such a gift! Such an inheritance! We and our children are to be so blessed.
And this is where parental hope entered the message.
As parents, we always want the best for our children. The best education, the best medical care, the best food on the table, the best opportunities we can afford to give them, and more.
We want better for them than we had for ourselves growing up. Did you ever hear a parent say he or she wanted worse than he or she had as a child? Of course not! Better. Yes, we want better for our children.
What parents wouldn’t sacrifice to care for their child or children? Recently, the NBA awarded its Most Valuable Player of the Year Award to Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. In his acceptance speech, Durant speaks to the parenting he received from his mother. Listen to Durant’s reasons for referring to his mom as the “real MVP:”
Durant’s mother mirrored God’s gift of sacrifice in raising her sons on her own. She gave up so that they could be cared for and protected.
God gave up His Son so that we could have eternal life and have it abundantly. This is what John speaks to in the verses found in Revelation. Hopeful parents understand the need to care for, watch over, and protect their children in this the “first heaven and the first earth” in order to have them with us in the newness of eternal life as declared by God in these verses. Yes, we are hopeful that our children will be successful in life, career and home, but we must also be hopeful that they will find a faithful walk when led by our example and fostered by our prayers so that they will enjoy God’s gift of eternal life in abundance. REFLECTION: Think today on how you are applying Mark’s words as well as John’s to your parenting. Pray as often as you think of it for your children. Pray that they are receiving from you the best you have to offer.