Our son turns the big five today and as we put together a list of fun activities that we can do to celebrate in the great indoors, activity songs like ‘Father Abraham’ definitely make it to the top of the list. ‘Father Abraham’ was one of those classic songs that most of us grew up singing in Sunday School. I sang it more than most of my peers because while they moved on, I stayed on to teach, groom and get more than a lifetime’s serving of activity songs.
Every Sunday morning, cute faces stared at me filled with so much desire to learn, many questions to ask and a healthy appetite for cookies and juice; I remember that I always relied on good old ‘Father Abraham’ to shake up the tempo in the room. It got the children excited all the time and it saved me a few minutes when I didn’t need to think of what to do with them.
A few years back, as we prepared for Children’s Day service, we decided to serve the adults with the Kid’s menu (a taste of Junior Church). During the Praise and Worship session, the children slowly introduced activity songs, and of course, ‘Father Abraham’ sent the adult lifting legs, raising hands, chin up and turning around. As child-like excitement filled the atmosphere, the adults were children again and everyone was having so much fun. Was that not exactly where God wanted us to be? Just like little children. Remember he said, ‘the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children’. (NLT Bible Luke 18:16) They get the good side of eternity. Children, so trusting and forgiving!
In the words of Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. Children have the ability to be both human and divine. They err by the minute and if you have them around you, you know that their list of wrongs can easily fill up an ocean. But their erring heart can also forgive easily. If you wonder how they do it, just have a few of them over for a play-date and in the span of a few hours, you will observe them switch so seamlessly from human to divine to human and back to divine. It almost feels like they are playing a game of offend and forgive. As the adult chaperone, you will find yourself settling fights in the first few minutes and then as you quickly get with the program, you begin to let them figure themselves out. They always do!
So how did we lose our capacity to be human and divine. I guess we grew, began to think too much of little things, remember too much, hold on to too much, assume too much and pick up little bad habits that compound like grease. We forgot how to say sorry before the hurts grew and received apologies with contempt in our heart. Lewis B. Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you”. Yet many still prefer to remain imprisoned, I wonder why!
The list of things we hold unto grows, time passes by and we give more room for our humanity, until one day, we choke the divine and become just human.
Life is too short to stay angry forever; I know that asking you to let go of hurts is easier said than done but the joy of forgiveness far outweighs the burden of a grudge. I encourage you to choose peace, freedom, joy, laughter and abundant life because in making these simple and intentional choices daily, we live life like it was meant to be, human but wholly divine.
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Have a great week ahead!