I wish you could have known my mother. I thank God that in His grace and mercy he allowed me to have her as a guiding force in my life. May is the month we celebrate Mother’s Day. It is in our Mothers that we often experience God's unconditional love most clearly reflected in human relationships.
Not everyone was blessed with a good Mother. We live in a fallen world and there are untold horrors perpetrated on innocent children by the hands of the very ones most responsible for nourishing and loving them. God speaks to us through the Prophet Isaiah (49:15) "Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will never forget you." Thus sayeth the LORD!” God will never forget us, leave us, forsake us, stop loving us or stop pursuing us.
The Church is intended by God to be a place where people can gather to learn about God's grace and mercy. Our Redeemer is a safe place to learn about God. Our Bible classes and Fellowship opportunities are places of compassion, acceptance and encouragement. None of us have all the answers and we all get to grow in the knowledge of and love for our Lord and one another. Our Redeemer is a safe place for that. When I think about the safest places in my life as a child, I think of my mother's lap. Martin Luther described the Church as the Mother of our faith. It is where we receive the Sacraments and hear the Word and gather together in the Sanctuary to worship.
Have you ever wondered why the place we gather is called the Sanctuary? I love the image. Sanctuary means a place of refuge or safety. Sanctuary. Let the word fill your mind and calm your soul. Jesus said, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28) Sanctuary! We all need a place of refuge and rest from the challenges of daily life. God intends for the church to be that place. Singer/songwriter Ken Medema wrote of the church:
"If this is not the place where tears are understood, where can I go to cry?
If this is not the place where my spirit can take wing, where can I go to fly?
If this is not the place where my questions can be asked, where do I go to seek?
If this is not the place where my feelings can be heard, where do I go to speak?
If this is not the place where you accept me just as I am, where do I go to be free?
If this is not the place where I can try and grow and love, where do I go to be just me?"
Thank you for helping to make Our Redeemer the place where all of the above happens. God bless you all as we continue to serve our Lord with joy and gladness. Shalom.