First Friday of Lent
[Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, 386]
Deuteronomy 10:12-22 Psalms 40, 51, 54 Hebrews 4:11-16 John 3:22-36
Many years ago, Mrs. Reed, our daughter’s nursery school teacher, had a wonderful way of speaking to the children, all of whom were venturing from home for the first time. Whenever a child asked her for something, to find the red crayon or to tie a shoe, she sat down next to that child and said, “I would be glad to.”
“I would be glad to.” I was struck by the graciousness of the expression; her words conveyed to the children a sense of legitimacy and assured them that their needs would be met. I can think of no better definition of grace; each time she enfolded a child in this way, she passed a tiny bit of God’s love. No wonder our daughter felt at home in Mrs. Reed’s care!
As we grow, life is a series of departures from safe homes into wider worlds. We start by asking for the red crayon. Soon we say, “Please choose me for your team.” “Please give me a job.” “Please, friends, stay loyal to me.” “Please, loved ones, love me and ignore my faults.” At last we leave our earthly home and stand before God, saying, “Please forgive the shamble that was my life and take me into your heavenly home.”
Whatever our age, we remain three-year-olds at heart. We all long for the gracious embrace of home. We want to hear, “I would be glad to.”