Romans 8:38-39 (NRSV)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We should know that we are loved by God. Jesus showed us that in unforgettably horrendous and beautiful ways. But I sometimes wonder if I have completely accepted this love. The world seems to show us that we need to prove our worth. We learn that we need to keep up our image and to be successful, attractive, intelligent, or perfect in order to be loved and accepted. So it becomes difficult for us to fully comprehend that we are loved by God- completely, exactly as we are, no matter what.
Our Lenten focus for today is belovedness. How would our lives change if each of us fully embraced the complete, perfect, generous, constant, unfailing, unmerited, boundless love of God for ourselves? How would each of us actually live as a beloved child of God? What would this look like?
As beloved children of God, we would trust in our God who always works for good when we face uncertainty. We would feel Christ’s loving presence when we are lonely. We would gain strength for our weakest moments from our awesome Creator. We would have courage for intimidating times because the Spirit guides us. We would receive comfort and peace in our sadness because our God heals and redeems it all. We would know relief and freedom from our guilt because of the merciful love of Jesus.
We would also know that our loving God rejoices in our successes, delights in our joys, and smiles on us in our laughter. We would cherish our enjoyable, happy times while being fully aware that God is sharing them with us. Our lives would be richer, fuller, and truer. We would live that abundant life Jesus has promised us.
Perhaps the most noticeable change would be revealed by how we treat others. Living as God’s beloved, we would share more generously because we trust God’s provision for us. We would care more sincerely because we comprehend God’s tender care for us. We would love more deeply because we feel God’s abundant love ourselves. We would live more freely because we know God’s redeeming grace is holding us all.
One more thought… A year ago, our daughter Angie adopted a rescue dog that had been severely neglected. Angie loved Opal, not because of her good behavior or perfection, but because Angie wanted to love her and save her. She loved Opal through her wariness, her skittishness, and her misbehavior. Now Opal is perky, happy, and healthy. Opal wants to please Angie. She stands and watches the door for Angie’s return at the end of the day. She remains close to Angie every moment she can. Opal’s pure devotion and her joy of being with her loving rescuer can inspire us all. This is how we can live as beloved children of God.
Our reminder symbol for today is a heart. May it remind us all that we are truly God’s beloved children, and may we live accordingly.
Oh, how you have loved me! Thank you for loving me, despite my unworthiness. Thank you for loving me, even when I can’t comprehend love of this magnitude. Thank you for loving me, even when I fail to live as your beloved child. Help me to fully understand that in Christ Jesus there is nothing that will separate me from your love. May I begin fully living as your beloved child, that others may witness your love through me. Amen.