[Jesus said:] “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,
“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’
For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” Luke 7:31-35 ESV
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30:4-5, 11-12 ESV
Charlie Brown and his friends Patty and Violet were trying to decide what they wanted to play. Violet said that they should play tag, and then Patty said that they should play hide-an’-seek. Then Violet said they should play house, and Patty said that they should play hopscotch. Charlie Brown said, “Let’s play cowboy an’ indians!” while Patty said, “We could play pirates.” By the time they finished their discussion, it was time for them to go home. They said goodbye to each other without ever playing anything at all together!
Jesus told a story about some children who also couldn’t decide what to play. He said that there were some children who called to others that they had played a flute, but the others didn’t want to dance, and then they sang a very sad song, but the others didn’t want to pretend to cry. Children in Jesus’ day liked to play wedding and funeral. They liked to make music and dance the way the grownups did at weddings, and to sing sad songs and cry the way grownups did at funerals. Jesus used this story as a picture of the way the religious leaders had treated John the Baptist and him. John the Baptist had preached about God’s judgment and taught people to repent and to fast to show that they were sorry for their sins, and the religious leaders thought he had a demon. But then Jesus came and ate and drank even with people that everyone thought were bad sinners, and the religious leaders didn’t like that, either! They didn’t want to go God’s way, whether that way was as sad as a funeral or as happy as a wedding.
God’s way is both sad and happy. It is sad because of the way our sins hurt us and other people, and because of the way the world is broken with sin. The way of the Lord means that we need to turn away from our sins with sadness and to fight against the sin in this world. But God’s way is also a happy way. Jesus took all of the sadness of sin onto himself and died on the cross to pay for it. He is with us in our struggles against sin, and forgives us every day. He gives us life forever with him, and because of that we have great joy, a joy that will last forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for taking our sins away, and for helping and forgiving us every day. Amen.
Schulz, Charles M. The Complete Peanuts, 1950-1952 Seattle, Fantagraphics Books, 2004, p. 108.