Bruce Cockburn’s song, ”Cry of A Tiny Babe” and the book, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson are two of my favorite Christmas traditions. The words of the song and book translate the meaning of John 3:16 -18 (NKJV) for me in the everyday reality of our world.
John 3:16 (NKJV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God’s love is immense, big enough for the whole world, no one is left out! No one not even those of us like the Herdmans in Ms. Robinson’s story or the “shepherds and street people, hookers and bums” of Mr. Cockburn’s song are left out by God.
John 3:17 (NKJV) “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” God’s love is exonerating, absolving, saving, for the whole world! His Love, sent to save even “The Herdmans, [who], were the absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.” Page 1 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
John 3:18 (NKJV) “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” God’s love transcends sin. The whole world was already condemned because of sin - all of us- until we accepted God’s greatest gift of love, his own Son’s punishment redeeming us from our condemnation. “Like a stone on the surface of a still river/Driving the ripples on forever/Redemption rips through the surface of time/In the cry of a tiny babe” Bruce Cockburn’s message in Cry of a Tiny Babe.
"God’s love transcends sin."
As I listen to and read these Christmas treasures, I ask myself, and maybe you will ask yourself:
What condemning sin is so great that I can’t wrap my love around the sinner?
“We figured they were headed straight for hell, by way of the state penitentiary...until they got themselves mixed up with the church...” page 14 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
Who wouldn’t I want to accept this most marvelous gift of exonerating love?
“...and there they sat, the closest thing to criminals that we knew about, and they were going to represent the best and most beautiful.” Page 39 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
How can I, knowing His great love, be a light pointing a way to His gift for someone who doesn’t feel His love? “After all, that was the whole point of Jesus—that he didn’t come down on a cloud like something out of “Amazing Comics,” but that he was born and lived...a real person.” Page 74 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
As I answer these questions I search my heart for the dark places where I have drawn a line in the sand condemning when I should be loving. I am hoping this Christmas to shine with the wonder of Imogene Herdman who “had walked into the corner of the choir-robe cabinet, in a kind of daze- as if she had just caught onto the idea of God, and the wonder of Christmas.” Page 79 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Have A Wonder Filled Christmas!
We are excited to announce that we will have an in-person worship service outside at 8:30am in the MCC parking lot! We can’t wait to see you! In addition, our Sunday live-stream (on Facebook and Instagram) will move to 10:00am for the foreseeable future for those who are not be able to join us.
We’ve chosen for our service to happen outdoors as there are still a number of requirements and protocol for indoor gatherings. So, we are not inviting you to join us indoors at this time. Instead, come for our outdoor gathering, or continue to join us online later from home.
Please read the Guidelines for Gathering to Worship Together at MCC in its entirety so that you know what to expect when you come to our outdoor service. This will help you and those around you navigate a very new situation, hopefully in a way that is as seamless as possible. We believe that our unity will be expressed and strengthened as we serve one another in Christ this week so join us in extending grace to each other, amid our differing perspectives, and different views about how to live in this time.
“... submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
“Outdo one another in showing honor.”
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
Please know that we are making every effort for this gathering to be in full compliance with the protocols given by authorities. No single plan for our meeting will ever be the perfect solution in any one person’s eyes. We will all be making compromises. But as we defer to these guidelines set up by our elders and leadership, we will be serving our fellow believers, honoring Christ as best we can, and providing for a beautiful expression of worship to happen together.
Please stay home if any of the following apply to you:
- You are immunocompromised.
- You are feeling ill (running a fever, coughing, or showing other signs of sickness)
Please don’t put yourself or others at risk. Thank you for staying home and staying safe, because we love you!