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, NRSV)
As we enter into the month of March, 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. This year during Lent, we will be completing our church-wide study and unpacking the substantive insights contained in Gordon MacDonald’s book, Who Stole My Church? Our study overtly included open and respectful conversation and dialog around long held questions and beliefs, and how we might be informed by God’s leading. To say that many of us have found this experience transformational as individual Christians and as members of Christ’s Church would be an understatement. I have felt blessed and privileged to have been a part of our various study groups and discussions.
Another wonderful and related read, especially in the Lenten season, is a short but rather packed book by Bishop Reuben Job, entitled Three Simple Questions; which asks “Who is God?,” “Who am I?” and “Who are we together?” And in the end, as is so often the case, these simple questions have enormous significance, and Bishop Job’s answers 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.
These are three simple sentences, but with a lot packed into those three simple answers. And that is why we can and need to continuously dedicate energies to realizing what these answers can all mean to us, and 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 the 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.
During this Christian season of Lent, as we work our way to Easter Sunday, may you have a renewed knowledge and realization of the peace and blessing that comes from God’s gift of love and grace, offered to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. For this gift has always been, and will always be, transformational and life giving.
May you always own and believe in who you are in the eyes of God. Peace and Blessings … Pastor Bob