One of the first Games we learn to play – Peek a Boo I see You! With our parents perhaps or our grandparents. I remember teaching our boys and how excited they were when they learned to hide their faces and play along.
Very young children learn to play as they develop their fine motor skills and as the explore the world of object permanence, being able to know any object that is covered or hidden is still there, which they typically begin to grasp at about 9 months old.
Children often desire nothing more than for their parents to see them – they crave our attention, from infancy through toddler-hood, childhood and some even through young adulthood. Look at me “look at what I can do daddy.”
I am thankful to have helped raise my boys before the smartphone and tablet craze hit the scene. It is sad when a child has to compete with a tiny screen for the attention of one or both of their parents (no less than those who had to compete with television screens in my humble opinion.)
All children need us to see them. Watch them as they grow, paying attention to their developing skills and successes, witnessing their mistakes and failures, seeing the person they are becoming. Child psychologists have documented that children who are denied their parents attention are at a greater risk of developing mental health challenges later in life including anti-social, psychopathic, and narcissistic behaviors.
So any circumstances that deny children to be seen by their parents except in rare cases of abuse and utter neglect are not well thought out and are abusive themselves. And by the way, there is no biblical precedence nor support for separating children from their parents at borders. In fact, the Bible is very clear about how aliens and foreigners are to be treated with hospitality as if they were residents in your land (Lev 19). What is currently happening on our southern border is both sinful and shameful. This isn’t a political statement it’s just basic common sense and God’s will for humanity.
Big challenges like the one we face with our broken immigration system seem overwhelming, like Giants that we feel powerless to do anything about. We may feel as if we are babies in the face of the complex systems and issues involved. We may look at ourselves and say what am I supposed to do about that monstrosity?
It’s like David and Goliath the Philistine giant but that’s next week’s story. Before David ever picked up his slingshot in battle, he was just a shepherd of some flocks, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, the runt of the litter who got the dirty work in the family.
The Storyteller says, God sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse’s House because God regretted choosing Saul as king. We hear about the parade of seven sons, big & tall, strong and handsome, Mr. Incredible types, superheroes in the making.
God doesn’t choose any of them,
“the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7)
God chose David, the youngest more of a Han Solo type, the unlikely hero of the story without whom the Dark side would have been victorious, hope I didn’t spoil anything for you, but the Light side always wins in the end, at least in Star wars.
Story teller says of David’s anointing “spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward”
God looks on the Content of our Character not our physical attributes and calls us to do likewise. We often Limit our vision for ourselves, our community, our church, our power but God’s power is unlimited, unrestrained, undefeatable.
A third-grader taught her teacher this important truth: The teacher asked, “How many great people were born in our city?”
“None,” replied the pupil. “There were no great people born. They were born babies who became great people.”
We can do No Great Things only Small things with Great Love….Mother Teresa
The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, began her orphanage with such a vision. She told her superiors, “I have three pennies and a dream From God to build an orphanage.”
“Mother Teresa,” her superiors chided gently, “you cannot build an orphanage with three pennies…with three pennies you can’t do anything.” “I know,” she said, smiling, “but with God and three pennies I can do anything.” The Rev. Dr. Hugh L. Eichelberger
In our own community, Fortitude Community Outreach for the Homeless has a dream of providing overnight shelter for the homeless our most vulnerable folks during the coldest months – which are hard for us to imagine right now. And their director Dr. Dawn Broers began with a vision “three pennies” and God’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves.
For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 2 Corinthians 5:14
In truth we are obsessed with externals, with youth and beauty, accomplishments and credentials, productivity and profit. We are constantly tempted to judge our own worth and that of others according to “a human point of view.” We are tempted to view worldly success as a sign of God’s favor, and conversely, to view weakness and suffering as a sign of God’s absence or even God’s punishment.
In his second letter to Corinth Paul reminds us that human standards of judgment count for nothing in God’s eyes. The scandal of the cross is that God chooses vulnerability, weakness, suffering, and death in order to bring new life.
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
David wasn’t born into a royal family lineage, Mother Teresa wasn’t born into greatness indeed none of us were born great people and yet through the power of Christ’s resurrection and the amazing gift of God’s Holy Spirit we may become great people.
We have the potential for Greatness in the Eyes of God who looks on the heart, who sees with Grace, Mercy, Love and Joy, rejoices in God’s good creation, and invites us to see one another and especially those we name as other with our hearts. Amen.
Text from my Message for Today for Father’s Day, Central Christian Church, Bourbonnais, IL. July 17, 2018