Connected

By Rev Don Rivers

As we continue our discussion of the final words of Christ, I saved this message for this week as it refers to Mothers and their special place in our lives. None of us would be here without our mother. Good, Bad or indifferent matters not, we all have been given the gift of life through our mother. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let me ask you, what have you done for your mom lately? I don’t mean one Sunday out of 52. I mean every day. I realize some of us have estranged relationships with our mothers but we still need to recognize the fact that without them we wouldn’t be here. Scripture instructs us early on to honor our parents.

Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

This is the fifth of the Ten Commandments and comes with the promise of long life. Why do you think it matters so much? It has something to do with the way God ordered things; He instituted the family and it is the foundation of a community. Everything worth something is built on the foundation of family. Our Racing community is no different, think about it; we support one another, we help one another we are sensitive to the needs of each other and we care for one another. We are family!

The same is true of our true family. God designed us in such a way that we need family support. We need a group of close people who know us better than we know ourselves sometimes. This is a necessary element to living a long and healthy life. When we maintain the family unit the way God designed it we begin to live in a way that honors God.

Jesus knew this also and modeled it from the cross. He prayed for his enemies, he forgave and provided salvation for the criminal who acknowledged him and now he made provisions for his mother to be taken care of after his death.

John 19:25-27, Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Jesus demonstrated from the cross that God meant what he said. He showed us that even in the most trying times of our lives we need to respond in a way that honors God, Jesus did just that. Even in his own agony he was not focused on himself.

Greg Laurie shares this with us; “At the foot of the cross was Jesus’ mother Mary, along with some other woman and the apostle John. Can you imagine the anguish Mary experienced seeing her son on the cross? For parents, and certainly mothers, it is exceptionally painful to watch their children suffer.”

“Imagine Mary as she looked up at Jesus, hanging on the cross. He was beaten and marred, His body traumatized by the scourging. That was her son. His forehead she used to kiss when He was a boy was now lacerated with a crown of thorns. His hands she once held were now pierced and bloodied by spikes.”

“Now as Mary looked up and witnessed her son Jesus hanging on the cross, I believe the sword pierced all the way through her soul. A new revelation probably came to Mary. Perhaps she realized, for the first time, That Jesus was not her child – but that she was His. Maybe for the first time Mary began to grasp the fact that this was not simply her firstborn son. He was God Almighty. It all came into focus for her.”

We need to come to the same realization; Christ gave his life for us. He suffered and died for our sins. He rose from the grave victorious over death so that we would not have to fear death. He saved us.

That day as He hung on the cross dying He had the presence of mind to honor his mother and make provision for her after His death. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, accepted the responsibility of caring for Mary.

How have we provided for our mothers? How have we responded to the commandment of God to honor our parents? How have we responded to the cross and the sacrifice that was made for us? There are so many questions to answer, so many things to consider. I would ask you to follow God’s commandments and Jesus’ example; honor your mother. I would ask you to consider all that has been sacrificed for you so that you may have the opportunity to live; honor that sacrifice. I would also ask you to live in such a way that honors God as Jesus did.

Philippians 2:6-8, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!

CONNECTIONS- As I continue to reflect on the cross and the significance I can’t help but think of the connections we have with those around us in the racing community. There is the ebb and flow of life, people come into our lives and leave. Some are expected, some are surprising. Just this last week we have suffered some disconnections, at Riverhead Silas Hiscock has gone home, the Monadnock community is dealing with the sudden loss of Deb Yurko and the ROC racing family is coming to grips with the loss of Rick Wylie.

The connection to each one is something that makes us family. Our heart breaks when we suffer the loss. We face the challenge to continue on. As I was reading Larry Ott’s Story in the Buffalo News about that connection he stated about Rick Wylie; “His family through the generations has been involved in local racing for almost 70 years.”

The connections we build in our community is our strength. Many times those connections span generations. The story continues and shares about Rick’s wife of almost 40 years, Karen, who he met at the track, raced against, lost to and then onto his sons Scott and Jake who continue what Pops started. The connections continue and they help us carry on in the absence of those who have gone before us.

Hebrews 12:1 comes to mind; Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Our racing family’s roots and connections run deep. Many times I am surprised by those connections. When I am introduced to a young driver and then learn the rest of the story, I enjoy learning the connections. Who put into this young racer the desire and passion to pursue this endeavor? As we reflect on these lives let us think about who connected us with the racing family.

This weekend extends beyond honoring our Mothers, it is also about how we got here, who is responsible for putting that desire in our heart. Remember those connections. Take the time to thank those who put that passion in your heart. Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

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