I always hated playing musical chairs as a kid. The music would start up and my little heart would start pounding. I still feel a little panic when I think about that game today. I was never a very athletically gifted child, so I knew that my chances of lasting very long in this game of quick reflexes were slim to none. I hated the feeling of embarrassment at being one of the first ones out. You had to just stand by and watch the rest of your friends continue to play- the kids who were better than you.
This feeling of dread and the belief that there wasn’t enough space for you, that you had to fight your way for a spot to sit down- that same feeling and belief were what the Reformers spoke out against and what Jesus addresses in today’s reading.
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
People believed and many people still believe that the love of God is like a game of musical chairs. The music of life starts up and we have to prepare ourselves to make the mad dash for a seat in heaven. If we aren’t good enough, then we have to sit outside the love of God by ourselves.
In the first century, there was a type of hierarchy present in households. Fathers were usually at the top and slaves were at the bottom. The slaves were utterly vulnerable and could be kicked out of the home at any time. They could simply be dismissed or they could be sold to another household. They had no real place in the home. At best they could consider a home to be a temporary lodging. Jesus asserts that we are slaves to sin and therefore we are vulnerable to its whims. If the power of poverty, illness, selfishness, injustice, or death decide to kick us out of our home of peace and hope- there isn’t a thing we can do about it. Jesus, however, comes to us and promises to give us a place in God’s house forever. In the house of the Son, you are accepted and loved unconditionally and no power of sin can change that. Continue reading