Isaiah 43:1 Family of Jacob, the LORD created you. People of Israel, he formed you. He says, “Do not be afraid. I will set you free. I will send for you by name. You belong to me.”
Throughout the Bible we are told in various ways that we are God’s beloved. Beloved means ‘much loved’. The entire Easter event is about love – God’s love for us and Christ’s love for us. It is my prayer that we more deeply sense the love God has for us, and allow it to empower us, and inspire us to not just feel the love but share it, live it, and be God’s beloved.
Spirit breathes into each of us the Love of God, and that breath flows though us, back out and into Creation. When our minds and hearts are right, we can feel the peace and joy as the Presence of God moves through our being. There is a connection with God, other people, the World … everything around us. It is a sacred connection that we share with all of life. We share this divine kinship with every man, woman, child, and every other life form. When we embrace Spirit’s movement, we treat ourselves and others with reverence, respect, and caring.
Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. He was asked by an expert in the law what one must do to inherit eternal life. With prodding, the man quoted correctly what was written, and asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?” and Jesus proceeds to tell him this story.
A travelling man is assaulted and mugged by a band of robbers and left for dead on the side of the road. A priest, and then a Levite, both people who would claim to hold God’s values close, pass by on the other side of the road, turning their faces away from the injured man. Then a Samaritan, who was not esteemed by Jewish people in those days, stops to help him. The Samaritan takes him to an inn on his own donkey, pays for him to stay there until he is well, and leaves before the man recovers so there is no obligation to be thanked. It was a selfless act of compassion and connection, without any expectation in return.
Colossians 3:12-13 teaches us: 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
When we connect to others through Spirit and accept that we are loved by God, we connect with each other and the love of others, and look upon others as our neighbors. There are no conditions to God’s love – God loves us because God is Love. It is God’s delight and pleasure to love us because we are God’s creation and are created in God’s image.
In Psalms 82:6, God says to human beings: “I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.’” The Hebrew word translated as "gods" is elohim, which literally means "gods" or "mighty ones". However, it is often interpreted as the one true “God” in the Bible. It is a peculiarity of the Hebrew language that although plural in form, the word elohim is often singular in usage.
Our Divine Father loves us so profoundly that we are created truly as Children of God, ‘mighty ones’ made in God’s image. With this gift of birth, we are expected to be loving; it is our nature. It is who we are and is part of God’s vision for humanity - that we would love and care for each other and serve each other in community. Jesus guides us to love all those whom we meet, even those we would prefer to pass by and divert our gaze. God calls us to be today’s Good Samaritans.
We do not know all that God wants us to be. 1 John 3:2 reads: Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We may not know what God’s will for us is, but we know that we are important. God created us out of Himself to express all that He is and to be His ambassadors of Love and Light in a world that too frequently is dark and lonely. We are each a Child of God, and no Child is unimportant.
Perhaps we will have the opportunity to help someone today, someone who is feeling unimportant. Among the people we live with, work with, talk with today, we may sense someone who needs to know that they are important; they are worthwhile. We have the capacity to help these folks become more aware of their importance in God's good world. Our prayers for them, our faith in them, the love we pour out onto them will help them to hear the voice of God within them saying, "You are my beloved child."
Through our connections, our relationships, we are called to be God’s presence in the world. Spirit dwells within us, so wherever we are, God is. Christ is no longer with us in the flesh, as he was some two thousand years ago. But wherever we are, God is, and God is there in our flesh. In effect, we are the body of Christ in that place. This beautiful prayer from which I quote frequently, is attributed to St. Teresa of Ávila, a Carmelite nun living in the 1500’s, and was founder of St. Joseph’s covenant:
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours.
In her book, Love and Justice: Studies in Christian Ethics, Linda Woodhead defines Christian love as “an active desire for the well-being of the neighbour, and for communion with him or her, based on a recognition of the neighbour’s unique worth”. In other words, we choose to love someone, not because they deserve it, but because of who they are – a Child of God with unique gifts, undeniable value, and deserving of connection.
We pray, “…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Well then, what do we consider God’s will? At the core of God’s will for us is the idea that we love God, love others, and love ourselves. This is what connection is about – to be in a loving relationship with God at a spiritual level, with others at cultural and social level, with the world at an environmental and physical level, and with ourselves at a psychological and emotional level.
When we apply God’s love to the way we do our work, to the way we serve each other, to the way we engage others daily, in the way we relate to our families and the people at church, then we will begin to see the Kingdom of God come. For God’s Kingdom is rooted in God’s most deeply cherished value - Love.
1 John 3:1 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” The reason all people do not know themselves as a Child of God is because they do not look within to their spiritual nature; they are caught in the grasp of physical form. They identify with the body and are conformed to the views and opinions and ways of this world.
Of course, we know that it is not an easy thing to choose simply to love. It takes effort, practice, willingness, and God’s Grace. Grace means good will, loving-kindness, favor, Divine mercy, or unearned aid. With our divine inheritance, we are favored because we are born of God and are the life and activity of God in expression. In his book, Discover the Power Within You, Eric Butterworth, author and minister, wrote, “God’s will for you is perfect life, perfect wisdom, perfect love. This will, this divine desire is so intense, so continuous, so great that it even seeps through our willfully closed minds ... There is nothing mystical or puzzling about it; it is a very simple explanation of a process of life.”
We are told in Lamentations 3:22-24 - 22Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.” In some translations, the word "portion" is translated as "inheritance." Saying that God is our portion is another way of saying that He is our inheritance, our allotment in life. When we say that God is our portion, we are saying that He is our all-sufficient One, the source of all we could ever need.
It is my prayer that we will open our eyes, hearts, and minds to who we truly are and what we truly have available to us. God has given to us all we need to achieve our highest calling. We are God’s beloved, children of the Most High, gifted with unlimited grace. When we accept this truth, we express our greatest self, live our greatest life, and serve as God’s hands and feet in this world.