Tomorrow we will enter into Holy Week.
I have been richly blessed in recent years to have learned from such spiritual contemplatives as Richard Rohr, Philip Gulley and Rob Bell. One new perspective that truly has helped me, is the insight that God is complete love, and Jesus is God’s love incarnate in our world. I’d like to share how that has changed my perspective and my life before we enter Holy Week.
In my younger years, I learned that Jesus died as a sacrifice for our sins. This led me to understand God’s love as conditional, that God wouldn’t have loved us unless God’s very son died. We can have trouble grasping that God is complete love. Some of this stems from biblical writers who described God as a punitive God. The people of that time saw calamity and disaster as God’s wrath upon their sinfulness. They understood the practice of offering sacrifices as a way to appease God.
Jesus wasn’t sent to be a sacrifice for our sins to placate God. Nor did he take our sins upon him in his crucifixion. Instead, Jesus came as God’s incarnate Word; God’s actual living presence in our world that continues today. The Roman government and religious leaders saw Jesus’ radical way of living and loving as a threat, especially as people began to hail him as their Messiah. And so they killed him. We would have, too.
When we say that Jesus followed God’s will all the way to the cross, we can misunderstand. God’s will was not the death of Jesus. God’s will is for us to live in love, to serve one another, to share the world in peace and generosity, to honor and thank God for all of creation. This is how Jesus followed God’s will- he continued to live the way God had called him to live, never retreating, never giving up, never denying, until he died.
God is love. TOTAL LOVE. God does not punish. We encounter troubles of our own creation when we do not live in love, in generosity, in freedom, in forgiveness, in justice and peace. I am so thankful to understand this. Thank you, Richard, Philip, Rob, and all others who helped me see God’s love and Jesus’ life in a new and transformational way.
May my life reflect your love, always, in the world, dear God.
Here are the readings for the rest of these Lenten and Easter meditations.
Palm Sunday, April 5- John 14:1-14
Monday, April 6- Matthew 20:20-23
Tuesday, April 7- Matthew 16:13-20
Wednesday, April 8- John 13:12-17
Maundy Thursday, April 9- Matthew 26:36-46
Good Friday, April 10- Matthew 16:21, 24-26
Easter Vigil, Saturday, April 11- Luke 18:1-8
Easter Sunday, April 12- John 21:15-17
Monday, April 13- Luke 24:13-27
Tuesday, April 14- Luke 24:36-43
May God bless you in this precious week ahead.