November 21, 2010
We Need Bigger Arms
Thoughts on the First Readings -Joe Frankenfield
Feast of Christ the King
2 Samuel 5:1-3
There was a story going around several years ago about a little girl crying to her mother about how alone and afraid she sometimes felt at night. She thought that she would be happier if she could sleep in her mother’s bedroom. “Why not say some extra prayers while you’re falling asleep,” her mother suggested. “God loves you and she’ll give your heart a hug and you won’t be afraid anymore,” she said. The little girl responded, “I know that God loves me and is with me but I need a hug from someone with arms too.”
That’s a great story. It works because we all know its truth. A mother’s hug is the work of God: it’s God’s hug – with arms! There’s an important implication here.
We all know that there are hugs and hugs. Some come from people who don’t like us; some from people who don’t like hugging. Some come from people who are thinking about something or someone else. Some come from people who are afraid to hug. All hugs aren’t equal.
When someone gives a second class hug, God gives a second class hug. None of us is comfortable with that. We’re more comfortable with a God who acts independently of us. We make too many mistakes. We too often give less than our best. We leave God with too little to work with.
We can improve on our shortcomings but, try as we might, the odds of overcoming them all is, realistically, slim. It’s disheartening, even scary, how distant we remain from giving the world the love and competence it needs.
As passionately as God loves the world She’s creating, it’s amazing that She has so much patient love for us. We seem more trouble than we’re worth sometimes. That’s the full mystery of God’s forgiveness: it benefits everyone but it costs everyone as well. Believers have always struggled to understand this – without success; it’s at the heart of the King David story.