I scared some kids at church today.
In the sermon our pastor spoke about the vintage passage in Luke 1 where the angel tells Mary, “Do not be afraid.” How many times have we heard that story? So many.
From there he told stories from his trip to Jos, Nigeria this month. Boko Haram (the vicious terrorist group that kidnapped all those school girls this summer) has infiltrated Jos. There was a bombing in the market while he was there. Danger is all around.
Another story was about watching a group of strong women loving, serving and praying over 60 orphans. They wanted to specifically reach out to kids that had witnessed their parents being killed. Twenty five of the 60 came forward. Dear God. The women literally circled them and loudly loved them with the audacity to believe their broken hearts will be restored.
This question pressed into my heart throughout the message: “is it possible to live for more than safety?” Here in Wheaton, and there in Jos? So many of my decisions are based in my desire to make my life and my family’s life safe and pain-free.
Today I had volunteered to serve communion. I always choose to hold the silver tray with tiny plastic cups of grape juice. I love serving the kids. Do you know what I have to say to every child and adult that comes up to me wanting one? “This is the blood of Christ, the cup of your salvation.” It sounds so creepy. Medieval vampires drinking blood and offering it to kids. Unsettling.
When I crouched down to hold the tray out to some preschoolers I burst into tears. No warning. Poor kids took their cups and drank watching me with wide eyes.
I haven’t been in the mood much this Advent. I’ve been feeling pretty neutral about Christmas. But today when those soft little fingers reached for the cups (of blood) I thought of how loved they must be, their mom smiling next to them. I thought of Mary agreeing to carry and raise a baby called the Son of God. I thought of a healthy crying kicking baby in a dark stark night. I thought of how dangerous it was to agree to have that baby. And how there was nothing she could do to save him from his dangerous life. He would bleed in pain.
What mama could stand that? Jesus’ life was never going to be safe because it was about rescue. When is a rescue ever not dangerous?
This morning when I scared children at church by crying messy over their communion cups I finally entered into this holy season of expectant waiting. I’m waiting for Jesus. I’m wanting to be with him. It is going to be dangerous.
© Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus, 2014-2015.