Ephesians 4:7-8 (NRSV)
7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.”
Martin Luther taught that we were either bound to sin or bound to God’s Grace, I would put forth that in our world today we are either captive to negativity or captive to joy. It all depends on how we look at our lives.
Our world can be a very negative place.
We are bombarded by negativity wherever we turn: the news media thrives on tragedy, on social media it is common to find people tearing each other apart because they disagree about an issue, on the roads people will curse, gesture, and many will turn their frustration on those who are trying to help, from customer service workers, cashiers and wait-staff to First Responders and medical personnel.
In the current campaign cycle we are watching one of the candidates running away with the nomination based on his brash and negative platform of calling other people “losers” and deriding whole nationalities and religions.
As Christians, it is important for us to turn away from negativity, to make a commitment to the positive, to be captive to joy!
Being captive to joy does not mean that we are always living as shiny, happy, people, but that we seek the positive in life, we look for the light, even when things seems darkest. Being a parent can bring us great joy, but it can also be a trial…as with much of life these days. However, we can fall captive to the struggle and fall into a state of exhaustion and find ourselves just enduring from day to day.
This is even more so for those of us who are single parents, as we can often find ourselves feeling so overwhelmed by our responsibilities that we forget about the great gift we have been given in our children…and forget to look for the light, to seek joy, as it can seem as if we are just moving from challenge to challenge, and have little time to stop, breathe and enjoy. However, even when we are feeling as if we have become captive to the negativity in our world, or in our own lives, there is good news for us!
The good news is present in today’s reading: the truth that through Christ we have been given a great gift, as we have been immersed in God’s gracious love, which frees us from worry and stress, and gives us the great gift of being a parent that our children can turn to and rely upon when they need support, guidance and love. We share this love with each other, not only with our children, but also with all those around us, as we make our way in the world, navigating life as single parents.
And whenever we share this love, God is in our midst, and we are made captive to the joy of living in the light of God’s grace!
Light that empowers us to seek out the joy in a world that seems over-wrought with negativity!
Let Us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for making us captive to your gracious love. Please help us not to fall prey to frustration, exhaustion or stress, and let us follow your Word that leads us away from the negativity of this world. Let us share the gift of joy with all those around us, and always seek out the light, even when all seems dark…remembering that when we share you love together, is when our light shines brightest and can be shared with our children and the world.