Tuesday, March 8, 2016

forehead jesus.

I am the mother of a five year old boy. It's a sweet spot because he is getting so long and brave and expressive, but he still scrunches into my lap or asks me to help fix his sock that got twisted up while jumping on the couch. He still lets me crawl under the covers with him before bed, where I hunker down for a minute in the darkness each night, listening to his restless wiggles give way to slow breaths.

Before I leave we always make the sign of the cross on each other's foreheads. "Come get your cross, Mom," he'll whisper through the silence. And I do.

Today he wanted to know more about the cross. "Why did Jesus have to die so we could live, Mom?" What a wide opening for a preacher! God reminded me that we only had 8 minutes left on the drive to school.

Well, we tried to get up to heaven for a long time. We thought we could be perfect all by ourselves and live forever if we tried hard enough. But it didn't work. It couldn't work. Our sin and mistakes and anger and fears kept getting in the way. So God decided to do it for us. God came all the way down to earth in Jesus. 

"Like Jesus the person who lived a long time ago or Jesus in the bread now?"

The Long Ago Bible Jesus. He was God just like God and a person, just like us. And because he was totally both, he made the perfect bridge from earth to heaven. He connected all the things that we couldn't connect. He taught us and loved us and then showed us how to die without being afraid because now dying isn't the end anymore. Since Jesus defeated all of the things that get in our way and then rose again, we are connected to heaven forever by the bridge he made with his body.

"Now are you going to talk about the bread?"

I can if you want me to.

"That's the Jesus we can't see, right? We can just taste him because he's with the bread to fill us up. Ugh. I like the bread, but I don't like not seeing him."

Yup. We can't see Bible Jesus with our eyes anymore, but we can taste him at Communion. He's in the way we love each other or talk to neighbors and strangers. He listens to our prayers.

"And he's on that tiny little cross I put on your forehead, too. Because that's where he died. On a wooden cross. And that's why he made a bridge. Because crosses are made out of wood so he had wood to make a bridge."

Yeah, okay. Then he saw a city bus with an ad for the Science Museum's Mummies exhibit and the conversation wandered through facts about Egypt, dinosaurs, and bubbles. When we got out of the van at school, he asked me to stop and used his index finger to call me closer for a cross. 

"There's a Forehead Jesus for your day, Mom. Because it can be a daytime thing, too, right?"

It's an all the time thing, buddy. Thanks.

By day the Lord commands steadfast love
and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
- Psalm 42:8