When I was litte, my favorite show was The Brady Bunch. I loved the theme song, I loved the symmetry of having three boys and three girls in a family. ALL of it just made me happy.
One episode that I remember particularly well is “Confessions, Confessions” (from Season 2). It starts with Greg saying “Hey, guys, let’s shoot free throws into the waste basket” Bobby Brady, wise beyond his years, says “We better not, Greg, mom always says don’t play ball in the house. She’ll be mad” Greg replies, “No she won’t! She’s not home!”
The three boys play basetball around the room and Peter throws the ball, out the door, down the hall, down the stairs and right into Mrs Brady’s favorite vase.
Mom always says don’t play ball in the house.
The six kids all chip into to buy glue to fix the vase, but when Mrs Brady returns home and places flowers in it, water leaks out of the cracks and all over the dinner table. Feeling guilty for helping Peter get out of his mess instead of telling the truth, the five siblings, and even Alice!, confess to breaking the vase in various ways. Peter is the only one who doesn’t say a word.
Mr and mrs Brady find it obvious that the quiet Peter is the one who is actually responsible for breaking the vase, and because a whole half hour had to be filled, they let him sweat. They even make HIM come up with the punishments for his siblings that covered for him. The poor thing has nightmares and awful feelings all week before confessing. He broke the vase. Because he was playing ball in the house. And he lied. And he tried to be deceitful. It. Was. All. His. Fault.
After asking forgiveness from his Mother, Peter feels so much better and is relieved to be free of his secret.
And he never played ball in the house again.
It was never a debatable a fact. No one walked around saying “Does Mom always say not to play ball in the house?”
NO! EVERYONE knew that Mom always said not to play ball in the house. She made it clear. She said it flat out. Simply stated. DOn’t play ball in the house.
God does the same thing for us. Don’t kill, Don’t covet, Don’t steal, Don’t lie….It’s not a metaphor. It’s not debatable. That’s just what God SAYS! He made it clear. He said it flat out. Simply Stated. Keep my commandments. Here they are, they’re just for you.
But then Peter screws up. As we all do. He goes against something that’s RIGHT THERE for him. And he tries to fix it for himself. And we try the same thing. We do the things we’re supposed to do. We are kind to each other, we honor our parents, we tell the truth. But sometimes we screw up. Sometimes we break the bar instead of raising. sometimes we just do something wrong. And what do we do when we screw up?
Do we try and stick things back together with cheap glue?
Do we sweep our sins under the rug?
Do we let our consequences be had by others?
When we screw up, we feel bad. Whether it’s a little or a lot. We have that itch. there’s that feeling in your stomach that makes you say “Hey, bad move, buddy” And when we screw up, we can TRY to make things right by ourselves. Of course we can try. But it might not always get us very far. If we were the ones that screwed it up in the fist place. What makes US qualified to fix it?
But Peter screws up. His parents know it, too. And they go after him. They focus their energy on setting him straight. When we screw things up. We’re lost. It’s like we’re in a fog. And it separates us from God. And the more we try to do things on our own. The farther we get. When we’re lost, we need help. And God is there. God goes after us.
Out of 100 sheep, if one of them wanders off. The shepherd leaves the 99 and goes after the one.
The Brady’s forget everything and try to bring Peter back.
The widow cleans her wholoe house looking for one coin when she has nine still.
Nico spends his day looking for his purple semi-truck hot wheel, even though there’s a bucket of them in the other room.
God goes out and finds us, even though we’re only one in billions of his children.
God tells us what he wants us to do.
And when we screw up.
He finds us.
He fogives us.
And he loves us all the same.
And, so, as God’s children. We are called.
We are called to do our best to keep his commandments.
We are called to ask his help and forgiveness when we do screw up.
We are called to stick with God, because he’s gonna ntake us where we need to go.