Monday, January 26, 2009


Today’s Reading: John 19:16 (NIV)

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.

Good morning!

Parents like to think they have their children under control. I grew up in a generational mindset where children were taught to be seen and not heard. In my grandfather’s later years, when he not well and a little on the cranky side, he would often say to my Dad, “Son, control those children of yours!” My father’s ears would begin to turn crimson as tiny blood veins began to pop out all over his forehead. This was not a good sign. It didn’t take much to get my father going, especially if we were making too much noise. At the time, we didn’t have to do say or do much to irritate Grandfather. Even the clicking of our black patent shoes on the hard wood floor seemed to step on his last nerve. Often, my sister and I would be banned from the house to play outside. Dad told us to stay away from the front room windows, where Grandpa liked to rock out in his favorite rocking chair, chewing and spitting tobacco into the brass spittoon clear across the room by the wood-burning stove. That rocker was well worn; there were actually crevices on the hard wood floor where Grandpa sat. I guess it was the constant motion that soothed my grandfather’s tortured soul. I would stand at the window and watch him chew his cud, pucker up, aim and fire. Grandpa used to hit that spittoon with amazing precision. I never learned how to chew and spit like he did; Grandpa’s aim was certainly much better than mine. Please don’t tell my mother we snuck some of Grandpa’s stash and tried chewing and spitting tobacco!

I never really understood my father’s exasperation, until I became a parent myself. Daddy was only doing his best to please his own Father. To prove he was truly in control of his children, Dad would raise his voice and look really mean, waving us out of the room. It didn’t take long for my own children to figure out that if their Father had a headache and they made enough noise inside the house, I would cave and send them outside to play. They would run to me in the kitchen while I was doing dinner dishes, and beg to play outside for just a few more minutes, even in the coldest, windiest winter weather. I would tell them no with my sternest voice. Not long after this ultimatum, the children would begin to run up and down the hallway, little voices growing louder and louder until I would hear my husband complain. Out of desperation, I would relent and send them outside for fifteen more minutes. Do you think I was really in control of the situation? I think not.

It is obvious that Pilate was truly exasperated. In one final act to appease the rebellious crowd and put those blood thirsty Roman guards to work, Pilate handed Christ over to be crucified. Pilate still thought he was in control. What do you think?

In yesterday’s sermon at church, the Pastor said that we often blame our circumstances and how we were raised for many of the sins we commit. Sometimes, we claim we cannot help ourselves because, after all, it was because of how we were treated by our parents and grandparents. Can we own responsibility for the choices we make? The day I stopped blaming my dad for the mistakes I made as a young parent was the day I began to walk in truth.

Who was to blame for Christ’s death? Was it Pilate, the Jews or the Romans? Maybe the answer is really you and me.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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