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The Word That Means The World To Me

John 14:1-14

The Rev. Jon Roberts

10 May

2009

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church

Venice, FL

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

“M” is for the million things she gave me;
“O” means only she is growing old;
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me;
“H” is for her heart as pure as gold;
“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining;
“R” means right, and right she’ll always be;

Put them all together they spell, “MOTHER”;
A word that means the world to me.[1]

Giving, growing, shedding, holding, loving, correcting;

These are words of action that describe just a few of the attributes of a person who has given their life so that another may live. It just so happens that they are also, often, synonymous with the word “Mother.” This is a day that we celebrate Mothers; giving God our thanks for the habitat of the home for which He has helped them to construct. This is where mothers mean the world to us. As the saying goes, “The home is where the heart is.”[2] It is a place where we are to experience what it means to give and to grow; to shed tears and to hold; to love, and yes, to be corrected. Such comfort and such counsel go hand in hand; but it must be frustrating for the mother, when a child becomes distant and there is a feeling of being powerless. Unable to give comfort or counsel makes a mother grow weary. When a child goes beyond their reach, what then, can the mother do?

There is a true story about a young boy, who did indeed go beyond his mother’s reach. His name was Marvin Goldstein and he lived with his mother, Blanche, on the fifth story of a New York apartment building in the year 1945. Living five stories up, he recounts what it must have been like for his mother, during an incident when he was a toddler. He was playing in the sanctuary of their home. His mother was doing something in the next room, when all of a sudden she heard her son scream. She ran into the room right away, looking at the most dreadful sight. Her little boy was holding on to the window sill from the outside. This was in the days when they didn’t have window guards. She ran as fast as she could to save him, but she was too late. She watched him helplessly slip free, and heard his cry sounding more distant with the fall. She said the quickest prayer ever, out loud, “God save him.” And God did just that. He did it through a man named Sal Mauriello. Sal was a barber and had left early to go home that day. He was directly under the toddler who fell out the window. He watched when the boy let go, and falling down, directly towards him. Some say it was the perfect catch. He had the good presence of mind to take the coat that was tossed over his shoulder, and made it into something like a safety net. When he caught Marvin, the miracle was that the boy only fractured his nose. Rushing down as fast as she could, Blanche took hold of her son, inspecting him from head to toe. Then she wrapped her arms around Sal and kissed him.[3] From that point on, Marvin was known as, “Blanche’s son who fell out the window.” But together, both Blanche and Marvin would refer to the word, “Sal”, as the word that meant the world to them.

So what is it? What word is it that truly means the world to us as Christians? That gives us comfort and counsel? That reminds us of our true home where the heart is. Could it be the name of the one who told us He is, “the way, the truth, and the life?”

“C” is for that He caught me;
“H” means only, He wants to hold;
“R” is for His rising up to save me;
“I” is for His infinite love as pure as gold;
“S” is for His saving grace, with love-light shining;
“T” means truth, and true He’ll always be;

Put them all together they spell, “Christ”;
A word that means the world to us.[4]

The hardest thing for a mother, must be letting go. But what comfort and counsel she has to offer, when she prays to God on behalf of her child, knowing full well, Jesus is there to catch them when they fall. On this day, for those of us who have slipped out the window, and Mother’s alike who had to watch, Christ means the world to us, because He told us, He is the way, the truth and the life, and he is there to catch the world;[5] The world that means everything to Him.

[1] Howard Johnson, 1887-1941, song lyricist.
[2] Pliny the Elder, 24-79AD.
[3] NPR, “A Toddler, an Open Window, and an Amazing Catch,” April 24, 2009.
[4] The Rev. Jon Roberts, 2009.
[5] John 14:1-14

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