A long time ago, when I had preached to the same congregation for many years, I struggled each week to find some new and interesting way to present the Gospel, something they had not heard over and over already. Helen said, “You worry too much about that. Your only job each Sunday is to remind us that God loves us.”
Yesterday I preached at St. Mark’s UMC, because our pastors were at the Special General Conference of the UMC that is trying to deal with our homophobia issues. In the process, I tried to explain the way God loves us.
I heard recently the phrase “minimum interference and maximum support.” I liked it, but I think God deals with us through maximum freedom and total presence, presence with us even when we don’t know it.
That’s the way good parents deal with children. Maximum freedom is different at each stage of life, but it is necessary if children get to grow. Total support is possible regardless of how young or old a child is.
Anyway, it made me think of this poem I wrote some time back.
There is freedom at the boundary line
Where the trees are thick
And wild flowers grow along the lower edges
I dare not go into the woods
For there I cannot survive
I dare not even look between the trees
For that dark vale invites me to my death
There is freedom within the limits
That God has placed on me
John Robert McFarland