Dear Roberts Park Friends,
It amazes me still here in the daycare, how a sobbing child can, with just a few moments of care and comfort, be transformed into a beaming laughing bundle of joy who is ready to join their friends again. I can’t remember how many times as a parent I had to pick up one of my children who had fallen or in some other way hurt themselves, or become distressed, and offer some comfort to try and bring a halt to their tears. I do recall how Irene, my children’s mother, would offer words of reassurance and say things like, “Let’s kiss it better,” and though the kiss probably offered little in terms of healing power or reducing the pain felt, it did offer the reassurance that he or she was loved and cared for.
If we, as human beings, can do that for our children, how much more can God do that for us? It is an image that we see time and time again in the scriptures. One lovely example of this is in the words of the prophet Isaiah when he says to the people what God has called him to say, “Comfort, comfort ye my people, says God. He has sent me to comfort all who mourn, to decorate them with the garland of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of sorrow, and a spirit clothed in praise instead of cloaked in despair. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” (Is 40:1a:61:1b, 2b-3; 66:13).
Now I accept that as we approach Mother’s Day this year, there are some who do not know their birth mother, or who did not have the best of relationships with their birth mother, or who now find themselves in a strained relationship or without a mother who is caring. Yet the image that comes to us through scripture is that of a God who loves us with a love far greater than any earthly parent; one who suffers when we suffer and grieves when we grieve. God doesn’t lightly allow us to face those things that challenge us, but like any good parent, God knows the price of true freedom and the necessary corollary to experiencing joy and pleasures. Yet God always longs to encircle us in strong loving arms and care for us whatever it is we might face. God promises comfort. Perhaps we can echo the words of St Paul when he says, ‘Glory be to the God and Father of Jesus Christ: the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our suffering so that we can comfort those experiencing any kind of suffering with the comfort God has given us.’ (2 Cor. 1:3-4). That is the challenge for us today I think, to offer the comfort we have in God to others whom we meet in our lives. Have you opened you heart to the comfort that a mother God longs to offer? Are you ready to let God’s love envelop you? Then can you share that same love with others? Of course, such things are not done in our own strength but with the Holy Spirit who is described by Jesus as,’ the comforter.’
Perhaps this can be our prayer this week? ‘Loving God, when tears are my food day and night, and when my heart is breaking within me, reassure me of your love, reach out with your comfort, and help me to know that joy will come again. Through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen (N Fawcett)
Shalom my friend,