John 3:16 (CEB)
16 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
I remember worrying in the months before the birth of my first child, would I be able to love this little baby? It disturbed me to think I was that odd mother out who wouldn’t be able to love. It bothered me because I couldn’t quite visualize the future; it was too much to comprehend. I still remember the sensations that overwhelmed me as I looked into his eyes for that first moment. Dark blue orbs pierced my heart. My body was on fire with a blaze that did not consume, but warmed me throughout. I felt my heart open as I gathered this little bundle in.
God loves the world and loves each one of us with a unique first encounter kind of love. How God can do that I don’t know, but I believe it is true. It’s fashioned from an immense Love that dreamed of and then created the world. It’s generated with Hope that instills each generation to keep moving forward. It’s built on Faith that breaks down barriers so we can all belong. And it is surrounded and bathed in the grace of God working its magic.
God loves you and me with an everlasting love. It’s a love that cares for us, hopes for us, and guides us. Circumstances throw us into the choices of whether we will walk in a path of love. It is a path made of sacrifice, perseverance and power. The invitation is not to draw a circle to keep out people who we think don’t deserve to be in. The invitation is to draw a circle that includes all of us in the heart of love. We are called, with Jesus, to help make the world right again.
Prayer: God of Grace and God of Glory, Open my heart to love with the power of your grace. Let me open my mind to receive, my heart to feel and my strength to give, in the name of your precious Son. Let it be so. Amen.
Pastor Andrea Andress