But this is the covenant that I will make...I will be their God, and they shall be my people...for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
Every now and then a great show breaks through the commercial clutter to become a big hit for its respective network.
One such show is This Is Us, an emotional drama that follows the story of one family’s struggle with the realities of life that we all eventually face.
The show begins with Jack and Rebecca, a young couple who are expecting triplets. When one of their babies dies during at birth, Jack convinces his wife to adopt an unwanted baby who was dropped off at a fire station.
Their story staggers between the past and present as both parents and the triplets navigate the drama of adulthood – then and now.
I can only think of a few times when I’ve cried while watching a television show. The first was Brian’s Song (1971). Another was when Colonel Blake dies in M*A*S*H (1975).
Then there is this scene from This Is Us, when Jack makes a covenant promise to his adopted son Randall.
(To get the full emotional impact, click here)
“Jack you’re back was built to carry your son through life. Are you willing to hold him up no matter what comes his way? To raise him to be a strong man, to be the best in the world that he can be; to lift him to greater heights even if it hurts?” With each question, Jack does a push up. And with each push up, my heart wells up with emotions as tears stream down my face. It’s a beautiful mess…but then again, This Is Us. And God loves us in all our messiness.
I think what gets me about this scene is that it reminds me of how has God’s grace and love has carried me. Just as Jack shows Randall that he is willing to carry him through life – no matter what – God gave us the same promise when he sent Christ to carry us and shoulder our sin. This Is Us in God’s grace.
God didn’t pick the best of the people to call his own; God made a promise to carry all of us, even if we can offer nothing in return. Such faithfulness is sometimes hard to understand. We often prefer the idea of karma, in that what we do will come back to us. God’s love and grace refuses to play by the rules of reciprocity, fairness, and evenhandedness.
In a 2010 interview, Bono of the band U2 had this to say: “Grace upended all that “as you reap, so you will sow” stuff…Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.”
Moreover, it is by God’s grace alone that we are adopted into God’s family, and can participate in God’s redemption and restoration to the world. The grace we receive is shared in the world. It empowers us to love others with the love of Christ that was given to us. Such love can be overwhelming - causing tears to well up and spill out from time to time. If and when that happens, I invite you to climb on the back of God who holds you, carries you, and lifts you up to be the best “you” that you were meant to be.
Prayer: Holy Parent, in your divine mercy, you have given me another day of grace. Allow me to not only receive it into my heart but to pass it on to others so that they too might be overwhelmed by your love and become your child in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.