Some churches debate if they should hold baby showers for an "unwed mother" who might be a member of their church.
"Would this appear as though we were condoning fornication?" they wonder.
Using this logic, then they would also never be able to bring the child cupcakes in Sunday School on his birthday because he was and (apparently always will be) a bastard child. He is forever marked as a "mistake", and under this shadow of condemnation his mother will live for the rest of her life.
I would instead liken the baby shower to the feast thrown by the loving father in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son:
"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
"And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
"But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate."
Those who reject lavishing love upon a repentant woman remind me of the "other brother":
"But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.
"But he answered and said to his father, 'Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured wealth and prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him.'
"And he said to him, 'Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.'"
Pharisees hate when others receive God's grace. It feels unjust to them because they keep a talley of all the "good things" they do. Jesus called them white washed tombs, clean and bright on the outside, but full of dead men's bones on the inside.
In the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18, Jesus says that the tax collector, who beat his chest and bemoaned his sin, went home justified.
When we wrap our arms around a young girl who has chosen to keep her baby, as sinful as the circumstances around the conception might be, we are loving her like Jesus loved the woman at the well, the tax collector, and the disciple who denied him three times.
If she is a believer, I can assure you the guilt and humilation she feels are enough to push her into the arms of her loving Lord. If she is not a believer, but is crushed by the weight of her sin, this might be the very event that turns her to the cross for redemption.
If you shun her, she will grow bitter.
Her circumstances cannot be undone--unless she chooses to murder her baby to save face.
Labels: church stuff