by Norma Koehne
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Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no-one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’ (John 3:5).
When we think about birth, we often concentrate on the mother giving birth and the pain and hardship that she goes through. I would like to think about the child being born. Luckily, we don’t remember what this was like, but think for a moment of being pushed by those powerful muscles, pushed out into a cold world with bright lights and loud noises. No wonder a newborn baby cries. It is separated from the warmth of the mother’s womb, the reassuring sound of her heartbeat.
What a contrast when we are born again as children of God. A gentle splash of the waters of baptism and words spoken. As Jesus says, ‘Very truly I tell you, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit’. Rather than being separated, we are embraced by the love and all the blessings our Heavenly Father gives us, including the forgiveness won for us by his Son and the blessing of the Holy Spirit to walk with us and guide us. There are some wonderful images of the closeness of God to his children. In the psalms and Matthew 23:37, we have the image of God as a hen, gathering its chicks under its wings, keeping them safe and warm. Or we have the image in Isaiah 49:16, ‘I have engraved you on the palms of my hands’. How much closer can we be to God, etched into his very skin?
Praise God that we become his children through such a gentle birth.
Loving Father, I often forget how much you love me and how close you want to be to me. Thank you for your overwhelming love. May I rejoice in your abiding presence. Amen.