Monday, December 04, 2006

Not dead, but sleepeth

Today I'm writing to parents who are perhaps grieving about the faith choices of their children. Holiday time can make these wounds seem fresh, even if they happened years ago.

I prayed about this over the weekend because someone I know has children who are not following the spiritual teaching she sacrificed much to give to them. Of course, she recognizes everyone's right to follow their own path, yet she mourns that the teaching that has blessed her so much is not being embraced by the ones she strove to gift with it.

It is perhaps endemic to each of us who are strongly led on a certain path to hope that our loved ones will join us on it. Yet this isn’t always the case. We strive to love each other anyway, but the separation can make us feel lonely.

I had this in mind when I read the story of Jairus' daughter (in the Bible Lesson for this week):

And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a-dying. But as he went the people thronged him.

While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.

And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

--Luke

The phrase, "Weep not, she is not dead, but sleepeth," stood out to me. How many times throughout history, in fact even in some countries today, are children ostracized by their families when they leave the traditional ways? "They are dead to me," is the parent's cry, and in some places, the parents even have the right to kill the children for this infraction. Yet the story above can be seen as a metaphor of a child who is brought back, not from death but from sleep, by the Christ touch.

"She is not dead, but sleepeth." If the teaching you as a parent love so much is the truth, the only turning from it must be temporary. Even if it lasts as long as this human lifetime, all will wake to the truth at some point on their journey.

And perhaps we parents need to refine our own sense of truth, and see it as not confined to one human teaching but as indeed universal. We can go further in striving to understand what our children are being inspired by, and perhaps learn a thing or two ourselves that will help us on our own journeys.

No one is dead to Truth. Truth fills all space, touches each one of us, leads us on our way. If Truth is being rejected for a time, there's no need to mourn it like a death. Rather, watch over the dear one prayerfully as you watched over their cradle as they slept. They will wake again.


Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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2 Comments:

At 12/04/2006 08:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Laura, that's just what I needed. I have a child who is not only not practicing what he was taught in Sunday School, but doing illegal, immoral things. I continue to know that God knows him and identifies him as his dearly beloved child. I also strive to see him as the loved of Love.

 
At 12/05/2006 08:14:00 AM, Anonymous Dennis R. (BigRaff) said...

Sometimes the children have hit on a more perfect path for them than the one they were raised in.

I was raised Roman Catholic, but on becoming an adult, I spent many years in the Evangelical/Charismatic churches. I am now a Methodist who studies the more metaphysical ideas such as Christian Science and New Thought.

My choices were never done out of rebellion, but as a sincere attempt to follow the Spirit.

Dennis R.

 

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