Friday, November 20, 2009
The Angels are Still Rejoicing!
Every Friday night Edgar (16) comes to my house carrying his Bible. He says he wants to learn more about Jesus. I give him scripture to read at home and he comes back next week having read it...not always understanding it, but reading with the help of God's Spirit. When we are together we read a passage and try to understand what God is saying in each verse. In this picture he is reading John 3 about Nicodemus and being "born again". Just like Nicodemus, Edgar puzzled over the concept of how he could be born again? He can't go back inside his mother? He wondered out loud, "What does Jesus mean?" I let him struggle, like Nicodemus did for a minute, not giving him the answer, emphasizing the "you must"...repeated twice at this point. The next verse said with the Spirit and with water. He started to catch on. Jesus meant a different kind of birth. "Ah Ha!" he almost shouted.
Well, from here on it gets theologically sticky because there are different interpretations of what it means to be born again. As we studied we knew that the water was to wash away our sins... to wash away the old and clean ourselves ready for the new. I told him that when he is baptized on Dec. 6 he will have a chance to come to the water like all the people John baptized including Jesus. With repentance he will need to ask God to forgive him for all his disobedience. The washing, or actually "dying" by being dipped into the water and rising again is a symbol of his being born again to a new life. The magic is not the dipping in the pool, but that God forgives and then fills us with his Spirit. He can go back to stealing and lying or he can allow his heart to be born again by the Spirit and walk in God's love.
He seems pretty intent on trying to follow Jesus, but temptations are all around. Two weeks ago he stole $50 from his mother's purse. He lied about his job. The whole church was in shock, "You lied? All this time you said you had to hurry and go to work at 1:00...but you never had the job?" At church he cried when Manuel said, "You lied to us!" I don't think he can stop overnight. I pray that God's word, his deaf friends support, and God's Spirit will get him on the right path. Please pray with me.