One of our favorite family activities is making music. In addition to 96-year-old Grandpa Cliff, who plays a real mean harmonica, we have guitarists, flutists, pianists, a drummer, and others who joyously join in to sing and clap. In our living room, stringed instruments hang on the wall, tuned and ready for whomever wants to jam along.
A few years ago, during one family get-together, our little granddaughters – ages 8 and 4 – also took part. Our eight-year-old played her ukulele, and we gave our four-year-old a Caribbean drum so she could be our rhythm section. After a few rousing choruses of “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder,” Grandpa Cliff suggested, “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain.”
This was a brand new song to our granddaughters, but pretty soon they caught on and were singing along, celebrating the mystery guest who so masterfully drove six white horses down winding mountain roads. The music was quick and happy until we began to sing, “We’ll kill the old red rooster when she comes.”
At those words, both granddaughters stopped playing and stared at us with horror on their faces. The rest of us screeched to a stop, and our oldest granddaughter said, “Kill the old red rooster? Why would they kill the old red rooster?”
Even a conversation about the anticipated chicken and dumplings dinner didn’t suffice as an adequate explanation. The generation gap suddenly formed a ragged rift at the center of our living room. During the few short years of our granddaughters’ lives, the only animals they knew were pets. After all, you didn’t kill your dogs or cats or horses or turtles or parakeets. Why ever would you kill your rooster, even if it were for some lady who could drive six white horses through tortuous mountain passes?
We have since amended the song. Although the family does prepare their horse-driving guest a chicken and dumplings dinner, the rooster survives the ordeal, and the chicken comes from the sterile coolers of a local grocery store.
In our family relationships, we all deal with generation gaps. Great Grandpa not only eats chicken and dumplings, he remembers killing the old red rooster so his mother could prepare that lip-smacking meal. Meanwhile, my granddaughters’ grandma (me!) remembers being chased and pecked by an old red rooster and the happy day her grandmother served him up for supper, complete with dumplings and gravy.
Beyond the gaps of understanding within our families, we also deal with a gap that is much larger and much more perplexing.
In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, chapter 55, verses 8 and 9, God shares this truth. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, either are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
We worship a Lord who not only created multiple universes, but also devised and put into place the scientific principles that made and make that creation possible. The gap between God’s understanding and ours? Immeasurable. But here’s the good news. Every day, every minute, God bridges the gap, and He does it in a way that we can understand. Through love.
His creation, in its complexity, in its beauty, in its perfection, sings to us of that love, and, when, because of our sin, His creation was not enough, He sent his Son Jesus Christ to show us how to live, how to obey, how to rid ourselves of guilt, of sin, of destruction, and finally of death. Jesus died to bridge the gap that lay between us and our Creator. He rose again so our faith would be complete.
Even when we find ourselves in life situations that seem beyond our understanding or our ability to cope, we know we can reach out to Jesus Christ and then step out on a bridge of love that spans the gap between us and our Creator. What joy to know that God will carry us across any chasm, no matter how wide.
Featured photo by Sue Harrison. Public Domain.