Kids, I have a question for you. Who went to the 4th of July fireworks a couple of weeks ago? How were they? Did you see lots of colorful fireworks this year? I bet there were loud booms, too right? I love fireworks! I like watching the big explosions of colors and lights, the loud booms, and looking at the shapes the fireworks make in the sky – sometimes it is circles, sometimes heart shapes… The only thing I don’t like about fireworks is that the shows are too short – before you know it, it is over!
Imagine if you were at the fireworks and instead of looking up at the sky, you were looking at your blanket or a tablet, you’d miss the whole show because it goes by fast. So, when you are going to the fireworks, you get ready, settle in your chair or on the blanket and enjoy the show!
I think the bible stories we heard this morning are saying the same thing to us: we have to be ready to enjoy the show or we will miss it if we are too busy.
Let’s take a look…
In the first story, we heard about Abraham who was sitting at the entrance to his tent and saw three men nearby, so he jumped up and welcomed them to his tent where he brought them water to clean up, he fed them, and waited on them. He was ready like you all were at the fireworks – he was looking up and knew just what to do. He valued the moment and he and his wife Sarah were rewarded with a baby boy!
In the Gospel story, Jesus comes into a village and meets two women named Martha and Mary. They invite Jesus to their home for a meal and he accepts. However, Martha and Mary each treat the visit very differently. Martha is like the person at the fireworks who is looking down, getting her chair and all the snacks ready and misses the whole show. And this was quite a show because it was Jesus in her house!
Mary on the other hand spends the entire time listening to every word Jesus says and learns from him. She is ready, she is looking up at the show and she values the moment.
So, kids and parents, I think the message for us today is to value the moment, be looking up for the show, for that visit from Jesus in our lives because those visits and those moments are quick and fleeting.
We all know that Jesus Christ is active in our lives, but our lives are busy, we can be distracted, and we often miss the show. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We all have moments in our lives when God is truly present, when we are touched by his grace and his presence. These are not day-long events, but instead are fleeting moments that we look back on and cherish. Jesus was only with Martha and Mary briefly that day, but 2,000 years later, we celebrate that lesson to be more like Mary and a little less like Martha. To be looking up and not busy looking down.
So, a moment ago I said that we don’t have to be distracted and we don’t have to miss the show. In fact, we can create the opportunity for these moments to happen with our family. Martha and Mary invited Jesus into their home, and it is the same for us. Jesus is at our door waiting for the invitation, we have to open the door and let him into our busy, and sometimes distracted lives. We can then create the opportunity for that grace-filled touch to happen by simply creating quiet moments with our kids where we talk about God and heaven, where maybe we read a bible story, and where we can help them draw a picture of that story. By talking about God and heaven to our kids, we create a quiet time of beauty with them that invites God in by merely being present.
And kids, here’s what you can do today with your parents and grandparents. Ask them what heaven is like. Ask them who is there that is waiting to see you. You can also read a bible story and maybe draw a picture of the story. And most of all you can enjoy the time with your family.
Maybe for all of us, today is that day to do it. To reclaim Sunday by reading stories, laughing and loving without the distractions. Value the moment like Abraham and Mary. If not on Sunday, then when?
The last two lines of the Gospel today say this very thing. Jesus says, “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” By creating these moments without distractions, we invite God in, and he touches our lives. We create family memories that cannot be taken from us. We enjoy the show.