January 10 Reflections

If I were to ask you the question right now, “Do you believe that God likes you and delights in you?” … how would you respond? My experience is that most people who call themselves Christians hesitate when asked that question. Because I am not asking do you believe God loves you because theologically God has to love you.  I am asking if you believe God delights in you being born and likes you for who you are. I think for most the idea of God liking and delighting in us seems “too much” for some reason. God maybe tolerates us in our humanity. Or maybe is ready to judge us constantly because we are such mess ups.  Or maybe does not even remember us because there are so many people. But to delight in us…like us? I do not know.

Brennan Manning in his book, Abba’s Child, tells one of his favorite stories about a priest from Detroit named Edward Farrell who went on his two-week summer vacation to Ireland. His one living uncle was about to celebrate his 80th birthday. On the day of celebration, the priest and his uncle got up before dawn and dressed in silence. They took a long walk and stopped to watch the sunrise, standing side by side with no words exchanged and staring straight at the rising sun. Suddenly the uncle turned and went skipping down the road. He was radiant, beaming, smiling from ear to ear.  

His nephew said, “Uncle Seamus, you look really happy.”

         “I am, lad.”

         “Want to tell me why?”

         His eighty-year-old uncle replied, “Yes, you see, my Abba is very fond of me.”

What if you could respond with a gut level honesty to the question, “Do you believe that God likes you and delights in you?  By saying, “Oh yes, I believe that my Abba is very fond of me.” I think you receive a calm tenderness filling your soul, to know you are not only loved, but delighted in. This coming Sunday we are going to be thinking about identity. Who are you at the core of your being? Most of the time when we think of identity, we think of three things: What do you do? What do people think of you? What do you have? The truth is these are all false premises to build your identity on. How about trying this on: I am a child of God; loved by God; and delighted in by God. By looking at the baptism of Jesus and the proclamation made over his life we are going to think about our identity as well. Some passages to read: Matthew 3:13-17; John 1:29-34; and Zephaniah 3:17.

Grace upon Grace,

Verlyn