Life and Love

The readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent:

I love it when in the Lectionary the appointed New Testament reading is Paul preaching for me! Not so much because it makes my job easy but because it reminds me that this struggle of what it means to be God’s beloved and follow Jesus isn’t new. Everyone who has come before – even those who witnessed Jesus’ ministry directly – had the same struggles. The struggle is real.

It seems so simple to say God loves us and Jesus shows us how to reveal that love to everyone! Living it isn’t so easy. Our egos telling us either we aren’t good enough or that we can do better than God’s plan are formidable obstacles to walking in God’s love. We are inundated with thousands of messages a day that tell us if we just bought the right car, wear the right closes, use the right gym or the right wrinkle cream, had new furniture and the latest gadget, we’d be living. We intentionally keep ourselves over-busy because we want to show we are successful. We live as if we had something to prove.

And with all this noise, noise, noise, noise we can’t hear God saying “that’s not the life I created you to live. You don’t have to try so hard to live. You are my accomplishment. Let go of the struggling. Live the life of love I created you for and you will do good things so that others see me in you. Let it be enough. It is enough. You are enough as you are.”

God loves us all so very much, beyond measure, without measure, and came to us as Jesus to show us the abundance of life we are made for, to show us that this thing we call death isn’t something we should live in fear of because it isn’t the main point of the story. Jesus came to show us that love is the most powerful force in God’s creation. Love, as God loves, is the only thing that can change the world. This love is the source of life, the bread of life that Jesus gives us. This love is what we are created from and for.

God loves. No caveats, no conditions, no exceptions. And when this good news grabs hold of our hearts we live for no other reason than to reveal that love to others. The cars and clothes and gadgets and wrinkle creams are put in their rightful place as things we enjoy because we know they aren’t the source of life. We stop needing to prove ourselves because we know that we are God’s beloved. We learn to recognize the struggle and can step away from it.

God loves. It is a simple message. We are the ones who complicate it. Humans have been complicating it since the beginning of creation. Let God love you as you are, where you are. Imagine you received the letter from Paul in the mail and let it speak directly to you.

God loves. Live.

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