Summary: A Narrative Sermon on Heaven as Home
It was a warm day in the summer in Grayson. Our windows were open, so it was easy to hear him, even though he was still half a block away:
TJ, our oldest son, had been our playing with his friends. And, as usual, he was barefoot. And, you already know what happened. He discovered one of the great truths of nature, one of the great equations of all human existence
Barefeet + 1 honeybee = pain.
So what does he do? He runs home, yelling the whole way, "MA! MA!" He comes crashing in through the front door. Now, remember, he had stepped on a bee, so he has just run home as fast as he could, using both feet. That means he responded to a pain in his foot by immediately running on it. No wonder Bill Cosby says all kids are brain damaged!
And, just like you’d expect, the stringer was long gone by the time he got there.
So why’d he do it? Why do all kids do it? Why do all of us want to do it sometimes? Run home as fast as we can . . .
They say one of the loveliest words in the English language is "home." That is not really surprising. Whether in warm light pouring out of the window into a dark night, or simple walls that hold out the wind and rain of a storm, home is beautiful word.
Home is where you run when you are hurting. Even now, all we have to do is close our eyes and our memories wrap us in a big hug and set us down to hot soup and cold milk and fresh baked cookies.
Jesus knew that. He had been a kid once. He had not transformed instantly from baby to full grown Savior, with only a momentary pit-stop at age twelve. No. He had been a kid for years. More years than he would be an adult. So he knew . .
The afternoon was bright and sunny. The world seemed a happy wholesome place. The boy skipped along under skies he had made and jumped over rocks he himself had formed. But that was far from his mind now. He was playing. And Jesus really knew how to play!
He ran to the top of a little hill and pretended that he was Judas Maccabees scouting out enemy positions. He watched a bird float effortlessly across the sky. If he thought about it, he could have brought out those strange memories of how that wing had been formed, and the dynamics of motion and lift that made it all work so well. But he was a kid. And he did not need to understand it at the moment. He just needed to watch it.
Sometimes, he moved rocks and watched the small insects scrambling for cover under the sudden glare of the afternoon sun. He would bend close, the smell of the soil filling his senses. The tiny ants were scurrying hurriedly below. Some were carrying the small white eggs of the next generation of ants. Others were just running. Bumping into each other. Climbing over each other. So afraid. So small. So crowded, and yet so very alone. It reminded him of something else.
A single tear dropped from the his cheek on to the dry earth.
There would be enough time for tears and enough tears for all time later. Now was the time for childhood.
He gently put the stone back in place, and turned to skip on toward another adventure. Behind him a sea gull called out. He turned to watch it fly. He never tired of the beauty of this wonderful magnificent world. As he looked behind him, he took another step on to the soft grassy ground.
His foot jerked back before his mind even felt the stab of pain. He had stepped on something. Something hot and sharp. He danced back a step or two, holding his foot.
There was the small part of a bee still attached to the bottom of his bare foot! The stinger must still be inside! In his foot! Piercing him!
The One who would one day endure the pain of nails and thorns was, for now, still just a child. And tears poured down his face as he turned to run home.
He started crying out long before Mary could possibly have heard. He limped for a few steps, only to give way to the fear and break into a full run.
Like all little boys with a stinger in their foot, he is now driven by something much deeper than just the little stab of pain.
He is hurting, afraid, alone, and more than anything in the world he needs to find his way back home.