I was conceived in church and I've gone nearly every week since. (Literally -- my parents pastored a store front church and the apartment we lived in was in the back -- so I was conceived in church!)
I can only think of 15-20 times in my 48 years that I haven't been in church on a Sunday morning. I have experienced a whole lot of good worship services in my day. But I must say that this morning was REALLY good.
My husband is the pastor so I might be biased -- but church today wasn't just about Bart. The praise team sang very well -- phenomenal spirit of worship... it all just flowed.
The sermon was called "A Parent's Pain" and was about King David and his son named Absalom who, as Bart mentioned this morning, took teenage and young adult rebellion to a whole new level. In fact, he did everything he could to push his father over the edge. He even went so far as to form an army to fight against his father's troops.
If you know much about the Old Testament, you know that David wasn't a perfect man. He did a whole bunch of really bad things including having a man killed so that he could sleep with his wife. And yet David was called "a man after God's own heart." But even in all of his imperfection, David remained a man committed to loving his son. In fact, he loved him so much that he begged the soldiers of his own army not to harm him.
The soldiers couldn't resist, however, when Absalom's long head of hair got caught in a tree and his donkey kept doing. As he was left dangling there David's soldiers just had to kill their enemy.
When David heard the news 2 Samuel 18 tells us that this what happened:
The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
That story is so moving because David loved his son to the end, even when his son did everything to make him hate him.
After telling the story, Bart read through the genealogy of Jesus. He pointed out that David's parenting may not have given him the results he wanted but generations later Jesus was born from his line. The idea that the lineage of David -- even after that horrific parenting experience -- led to the birth of the Messiah is an incredible thought. Looking at life through the eyes of faith and in the light of eternity gives a whole new perspective.
Sometimes I think a story needs an explanation and that I need to interpret for my readers.
But not this time.