(In The Life Of The Church)
Birthdays and Obedience by TCP
An apology from Josh. Taylor wrote this post for the newsletter for last Friday. I was out of town last week and on Friday in particular, at Sea World (I know, Blackfish ... right!). In my lack of foresight, I forgot to secure someone to publish the newsletter for me. Hence, I have decided to include Taylor's post from last week knowing that a few references might now be dated. Thank you for your graciousness as a reader.
Yesterday was my 30th birthday. I don’t know about you – but in my life birthdays have always been a big deal. And I don’t know if this is always true but in my particular case if we’re going to argue nature v. nurture it is undoubtedly true that this is a case of nature. Neither of my parents are big birthday planners – not even for themselves. I was just born super into birthdays – which I think was confusing for them.
In fact – I was so into birthdays that for my 18th birthday I talked my parents into throwing me a Royal Ball. It was a Royal Ball because – and this is far and away the most embarrassing part of my entire life – all through high school I forced people to acknowledge me as the Queen of the World. (Look – teenagers do embarrassing things, ok? I’m sure you did some embarrassing things as a teenager). And so my parents (because they love me – not because they’re into birthdays) rented out a reception hall, scheduled a DJ, and sent out invitations to my Royal Ball 18th birthday party. It might be sort of embarrassing to tell people about, but make no mistake – it was awesome. Because – and I hope you’ve figured it out by now – birthdays are awesome.
But I’m not just into my birthdays – I love birthdays in general: little kid birthday parties with decorations and party games and kids that are hyped up on sugar, teenage slumber parties with face masks and nail-painting and phone calls to boys too late at night (I’m not sure what the male equivalent of this is – or if there even is one), pool parties, and theme parties and even birthday parties with just a few friends and dinner. I love them all. I love celebrating people – because I think they deserve to be celebrated.
The Gospel lectionary text for this week is from John 14 (Josh will be preaching from the Acts text, not the Gospel text – just to avoid confusion.) It’s Jesus talking to the disciples at the last supper. And he says this:
15 “If you love me, you will do what I command. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever. 17 The Helper is the Spirit of truth. The people of the world cannot accept him, because they don’t see him or know him. But you know him. He lives with you, and he will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you all alone like orphans. I will come back to you. 19 In a very short time the people in the world will not see me anymore. But you will see me. You will live because I live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in the Father. You will know that you are in me and I am in you. 21 Those who really love me are the ones who not only know my commands but also obey them. My Father will love such people, and I will love them. I will make myself known to them.”
And there’s something about Jesus saying, “If you love me, you will do what I command.” that just really struck me. Because while I can honestly say that celebration is a gift that I naturally possess – I can’t say that obedience is a skill that comes naturally to me. I like birthdays because I think they’re fun and they give me the chance to celebrate people who I love. But loving people is not just showing up for their birthday. And loving Jesus is not just following the commandments that I agree with or doing the things that I want to do or that I think are fun. Loving God means making sacrifices – it means being serious about discipline and serious about obedience. It means laying my life down daily and pursuing Christ instead. And while those things might not always be as fun as a birthday party – I know that ultimately being formed in the way of Christ is way better than any birthday party. And so I think that in my 30’s – well I’ll probably still love birthdays, let’s not kid ourselves – but I’m going to work on loving obedience too.
Meet Our Newest UBCer
Mariana Jean Dracos
Birth Height: 21 inches
Enneagram Number: 8
Birth Weight: 8 lbs 4 oz.
A Conversation with Interim Office Manager Emmy Edwards
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