Six hours. That is how long this sacred space in the netherlands of Michigan has become even more sacred because, well, mamas and babies, of course. Over 100 of each.
Not everyone understands why there is so much love here for young mothers and their children. Not everyone understands why a bunch of teenagers have given up a month of their summer to work for free doing things like taking several hours each day setting beautiful tables for these mothers and babies, tables that have real linens, proper place-settings, polished high-chairs, toddler cups with bendy straws, and a full pack of baby wipes…
…even though it will take only about 15 minutes of dinner activity for the table to look like this…
…and for the floor to look like this…
…which is a wondrous tapestry of broccoli, rice, chicken, salad, bread, juicy puddles, and a mama’s pair of sunglasses.
Indeed: even if the mealtime experience weren’t such an adventure in patience and grace, still not everyone understands why this week of loving teen moms and their babies is such a very, very big deal.
This is why: because, well, mamas and babies. Isn’t it obvious?
Mama and babe. Mother and child. A whole crowd of them. What could be more wondrous and sacred, especially for a child of God and follower of Christ?
For you see: the LORD loves children, so much that he carefully and purposefully knits them together while still in the womb. He warmly welcomes them, even when his friends and followers try to push them aside for being too young, too noisy, too distracting, and too much trouble. He considers them precious enough to be the incarnated identity of himself. God Almighty. Creator of all. A babe. A babe! Why do we love babies? Why indeed.
And the LORD loves mothers, so much that he himself is often described in those terms. He is like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young (Dt. 32: 11). He comforts his children as a mother comforts her child (Is. 66:13). He gives birth to the dew and the frost from heaven; he is the mother of the ice (Job 38:28-29). And then there is this: he entered the world as a helpless babe, not formed directly from the dust of the ground, but rather ushered into life out from the womb of a mother, a living breathing flesh-and-blood human mother. And this: when shepherds and Kings met the Messiah of the world, they met him not as a king surrounded by advisors and subjects but as a babe with his mother. And this – oh, do not forget this: when he hung on the cross, preparing to breath his last breath, he yelled out to his friend, “My mother…do not forget my mother! Take care of her as if she were your own! Because I love her!”
We love mothers and babies here at Young Lives camp because God loves mothers and babies, and we are commanded to love as he does. Really, that’s all there is to it. That’s all there is because that’s everything there is. God’s love is everything. And we want in on it, not just for ourselves but to share it with others so they can be in on it, too. That’s it. That’s the whole story.
Not everyone understands. I get it. But God does amazing things anyway – and this week is going to be full of those amazing things indeed because, well, mamas and babies, and more importantly a God who loves them beyond what any of us will ever understand.