Monday – December 1, 2014; John 1:35-42
35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
In today’s reading, John the Baptist and his disciples recognize Jesus as the “…Lamb of God…” calling him “Rabbi” or “Teacher”. In the Jewish culture it was a great honor as being a “Rabbi” or teacher; and Jesus was a great teacher, who called his followers to make God’s love known in our world, through all that we say and do…to prepare the way for the Kingdom of God to become a reality in our world!
Today, with at the start of the Advent season…it is also a time of preparation, as we head into the Holidays and towards Christmas, when we celebrate the light of Jesus coming into the world! Advent can also be a time of reflection, as we remember those who have been our teachers, guiding us as we grew up ourselves. People like our parents!
As I raised my daughter I often found myself asking the question: “What Would Ruth Do?’ (or WWRD?), “Ruth” being my mother’s name.
When I was growing up I did not always appreciate my mother’s wisdom or her rules, but it has become clear to me over the years that I spent raising my own daughter that my mother was right about a lot of things, it is amazing how much wisdom she gained as I grew older.
This has become more evident recently, as my finances have collapsed and I have had to live life more frugally. During this time my mother’s thriftiness has come back to me, as I have to be very careful with how I spend what little money I have! Thanks to my mother, I know that my house does not need to be above 60 degrees in the winter, nor does it need to be like an ice-box in the summer, and I know that store brands are often just as good as the name brand items. Because of my mother, I have learned that saving even a dollar counts, as it could come in handy later!
Asking the question: WWRD? Has helped whenever my daughter and I have gotten into disagreements or when issues of trust have come between us; it has also helped at those times when I felt she had gone “off-track” in her life, by engaging in behaviors that I felt were harmful to her, and has been with people that I did not feel were positive influences in her life. When I have found myself becoming angry, worried, or frightened it has helped me to ask the question “What Would Ruth Do?”
It is at times like these, when I feel like I am in the midst of panic and overwhelmed with frustration or fear that it helps me to think of my mother’s no-nonsense approach to challenges she faced while raising my siblings and I; while she did panic from time to time, had a bad temper and often over-dramatize, but she did act decisively, and stuck to her decisions…whether she was right or wrong!
And in most cases she WAS right, like when she told me that I was drinking too much, or going down the wrong path in life myself, or when she advised me to be more careful about friends, money, school, etc.
If I had done some of the things my daughter has done (the things that I know of any way) my mother probably would have had me arrested (and I might have been safer in jail)…and maybe that would have helped, but maybe not…I just don’t know, and not every decision my mother made was the right one; knowing this has taught me not to just think of what my mother would do, but to also look at whether following her example would work with my daughter or not…as she is NOT me, and not as easily persuaded by anger and an out of control temper!
Speaking of which I have found that asking “WWRD?” has helped me to keep my head, to stop and think and to pray for wisdom, as I consider the best course of action to take. Asking this question also helps me feel close to my mother’s memory, her presence, comfort and advice…and helps me to act instead of feeling lost in panic, and it also helps me to go easier on myself if I do make the wrong choice.
Here is where our great “Rabbi”, Jesus can help us: as Jesus not only teaches us about God’s love in action in our world, but also how we can BE that love…to be teachers to others, and to share the forgiveness given to us by Christ: our friends, family, strangers, our children and even ourselves!
For this forgiveness was given to us out of love…the same kind of love we have for our children, and (I hope) our parents have/had for us! It is this gift of forgiveness that can help us to forgive ourselves even when we fall short of God’s glory and our own expectations!
It is this forgiveness and love that is the ultimate answer to my question “WWRD?”; because despite all of her bluster, her occasional inflexibility, and (what I saw as) unreasonableness, my mother forgave me all of my failings and loved me without condition (even if she did not always like what I did), and by doing so, she showed me not only how to be a good parent, but also how to be a better person, and what it meant to truly follow Christ!
As we follow the teachings of those “Rabbis” in our lives we are helping to prepare the way of the Lord in our world, by teaching our children how to follow the call to act as Christ in our World, to make the love, forgiveness, and grace of God known right here…where we are…as we journey towards the light of Christmas and beyond…
Let Us Pray:
God, thank you for all the “Rabbis” you have put into our lives, please open our minds and our hearts to their teaching and wisdom. Let us share this teaching with others and our children, as we are all called to be teachers, all called to share the good news of your love which can bring your kingdom close to becoming a reality right here, in the midst of our lives!