Star and I just found out the very exciting news that in about five months time, we will be the proud parents of a little girl. We, of course, knew that we were going to be having a baby, we did not know that our baby will be a little girl. And this means, of course, that the next generation of pastors in the Baird family will all be women (just kidding, no pressure on my kids. As my Dad told me once, "If you can be anything else in life, other than be a minister, please do that thing..." I will offer my own kids the same advice).
I have been reading up on Child Development assiduously, in preparation for our new child. I am reading-up on diapering and bathing and swaddling and caring for babies in all ways. I am also reading-up on the topic of natural infant reflexes. Of particular interest to me is the famous, "infant grip reflex". The Infant Grip Reflex is the reflex phenomenon that infants will grip anything that is put in their hands. For example, if you put your hand into their tiny hand, and a child will automatically reflex their hand around your hand. Scientists are unsure about the purpose for the reflex, except that it possibly dates back to a time when infants needed to grip their parents while running through rain-forests away from wild beasts. But they are unsure. The miracle of reflexive responses, even in tiny infants, means that all humans have intuitive, reflexive responses to life, even from the earliest of ages.
I believe that humans also have a reflexive response to God. The reflexive response that all humans have to God is love. That is, that the natural human, reflexive response to God, is worship of God - is praise and adoration. To put it in the language of B. Pascal, all humans have a "God shaped hole in their hearts, that only God can fill." A natural human heart reflexively has an open stream of communication, excitement, joy, a free-way of love which connects us to God.
The question then remains, why don't all people maintain this reflexive response to God throughout our lives. Why are there some people who maintain their reflexive response to God, and some people who don't. I'm not sure. One answer I have arrived at is that we all have preventatives, I call them "filters", which enter our lives and which prevent us from the natural reflexive position of our hearts for praise. Our filters can be made up of many things; pain incurred through the process of life, sin, intellectual numbness, over-simplification of the Gospel, personal doubt and questioning of self, and the list goes on and on.
This past week's message focussed on the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, riding the colt of a donkey - the fulfillment of prophecy - Palm Sunday. What was incredible to experience in this text was the natural reflexive response that people had to God/Jesus riding into Jerusalem on that Sunday. The text says, "When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the while crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen," (Luke 19:37). This adulation that Jesus received was, I believe a natural human reflexive response to the presence of Christ.
The natural reflex response to Jesus Christ for all human beings is love.
As we begin Easter week, here is my questions; "How firm is your grip reflex with regard to Jesus Christ? Are you holding firm? Is your body naturally expressing praise for God? Do you have filters in the way which are blocking your body and soul's natural response to God?"
All for Now,