This is a big week. On Friday afternoon our second granddaughter, Olivia Rose, is to be born at 2:30 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio. (Being an IU grad and having your granddaughters born in the heart of Ohio State country is really tough...I feel like a rabbi whose kids have moved to Teheran!)
Those of you who know me, know how crazy I am about Beautiful Ella. Being a Grandpa has surprised me...this 21-month old has my heart. She tells me she misses me over the phone. She squeals and jumps into my arms when her Mom comes her way to change her diaper or give her a bath. When we watch basketball on tv she even imitates my muttered, "Oh, come on!" when the refs don't make the call.
So Olivia is on the way. I wonder how I can feel the same kind of delight...and yet I know I will.
Love has this way of multiplying...the heart has this way of expanding. When there are more people to love, God gives us the gift of more love. There is always enough.
I've been in a conversation with a friend who is thrilled with her small group at Trinity. She and her friends are so delighted that they hesitate to divide the group and help grow some new groups with that same kind of gracious, loving, Jesus-centered DNA. I tell her God will multiply the love.
Sometimes, when I talk with people in churches where there is a proposal to go from one weekly worship service to two, or two to three, I hear them say, "We won't know everyone." I tell them, "Yes, you're right. If we need to know everyone in the church then the church is going to have to stay really small. Which means we turn our backs on all sorts of folks who want to know Jesus...know God...experience grace-filled community." I tell people it is okay...God will multiply the love.
Paul, the tough, old rabbi turned Christian preacher, is writing to the early Christians in 1st Thessalonians 2:7b, uses the image of a nursing mother to describe his relationship as pastor. He talks about how much he loves them and has worked among them. Truth is, though, he says the same thing to Christians in other early churches. He loves them...all. God multiplies the love. There is always enough to go around when we hang out with Jesus.
I think I'll call her, Lovely Olivia.
I'm ready to welcome you and love you, Olivia. And we'll make sure Ella doesn't get lost in the celebration...there will be enough love to go around.