"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are." (1 John 3:1, NSRV)
As we enter into the month of April, we come toward the completion of the Christian season of Lent and our entrance into the Paschal Mystery with the renewal of life and hope that follows. And just like my opening sentence, there is a lot packed into the words and traditions of the Lenten season.
During this year’s Lent we endeavored to walk with Jesus in his journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, and ultimately to the cross that awaited him there. Our hope was that we could somehow better appropriate or make sense of this amazing sacrificial action on the part of Jesus as well as the incredible result that through his resurrection the pathway to redemption and salvation was secured and made available to all God’s people.
If you are like me, the whole Lenten journey, while providing more and more answers with each passing year, always leaves me with more and more questions. I guess the more I learn about God, the more I come to understand just how vast and beyond human comprehension God really is. But questions come to mind, like … “Who is this God that can and would do all of this for us, for me?,” “Who am I/we that God would offer and deliver such a gift all that I/we should live in God’s midst?,” and “Who are we together and what does that mean for all of us right here and right now in this world?”
In the midst of these questions, it is striking that I ran across a short but rather packed book by the late Bishop Reuben Job that has served on many occasions to offer me simple yet very insightful guidance around Christian living, entitle Three Simple Questions. In his book, Bishop Job provides answers to those three above questions that are strikingly simple, albeit with a fullness and substance that we can spend a lifetime unpacking. First, God is love beyond our wildest imaginations, and the ways God has and will manifest that love number beyond any capacity to count. Secondly, Jesus Christ demonstrated that God considers every single one of us as God’s children. Thirdly, together we are God’s family, and as Christians we are the living body of Christ.
I know there is a lot packed into those three simple answers, and that is why we can and need to continuously dedicate energies to realizing what it can all mean to us, to the people close to us, and to the whole world. But knowing, regardless of where our understanding may be at any given time, that God’s love for you and me cannot be diminished, we can have boldness to keep unpacking the richness of those answers, along with our endless amazement, continuous delight and surprise, and ever deepening gratefulness. Because in the end, we are called children of God; and that is what we are … each and every one of us.
May you always own and believe in who you are in the eyes of God. Peace and blessings … Pastor Bob