This week we eavesdrop on John the Baptist as he calls us towards repentance with the reminder that the God’s time as king is coming ever nearer. But what should we repent of?
Read together from Matthew 22: 34 The Pharisees heard that the Sadducees weren’t able to answer Jesus. So the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them was an authority on the law. So he tested Jesus with a question. 36 “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the most important commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’
All. That is a big idea. Ask each family member to make a list of ALL of their toys. Yes, even the adults…you have toys, too! (ipads, scrapbooking tools, etc) ALL is a big idea.
Have each family member consider this question quietly for a few minutes: Have I loved God with ALL of myself today? Starting with the adults first, confess that when we are really honest, we don’t know how to love God with all of us every single day. There is too much stuff in our lives to make that possible. Too many things to do, too much money, too many hobbies, too much comfort. And we like all of those things. Everyone does.
You are invited to make a popcorn and cranberry (or any other items you like to use) garland to decorate your home. With each item you place on the string, name one thing that gets in your way of loving God. Use the list from week one and conversation from yesterday as a help.
Now we have a whole string of things that we know keep us away from God. So what are we to do? We can’t live up to what God has asked of us. We don’t know how and it is really hard to do for ourselves. John the Baptist told us what to do, “Repent.”
To repent means to turn around, to go the other way. You’ve already begun to repent when you name the things that are getting in your way. But here is the truth that makes our hearts glad: Jesus is already the string that holds everything together! God knew that we couldn’t do this! God knew that we needed help and that is why Jesus came to earth as a tiny baby. Jesus knows how hard it is to love God with all that we are. Jesus changes our sins, the things that keep us from God, into something beautiful. Jesus is the string!
Pray together, “Loving God, it is so amazing that you already knew what we needed before we could even name it. Thank you for Jesus! Thank you for making our mess into something beautiful! Thank you for holding us all together and changing us. (Sit in silence together for a few moments, listening to God.) Close the prayer by saying together, “COME, LORD JESUS!”