Know Thyself: Loved by God

Rublev’s icon – The Trinity

Did you know that the Bible is a great love story?  From beginning to the end, the Scriptures tell the tale of a Beautiful, Eternal Being who is overflowing with great love and goes to great length to share this love with others. At the center of the Christian faith, there is a great mystery and that is God is One God in Three Persons. One God but at the same time a community of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. A community of love.

As a community of love, God was and is self-sufficient and needs no one, yet chose to share this overflowing love with others by creating the world and in particular creating a very special creature, man and woman.  In the beginning, God shared great intimacy with the first human beings, who He created in His own image.  Yet sadly, these humans began to mistrust God and tried to play God, shattering the intimacy with God that they once had.  This had great consequences, and ever since then, humans have tried to be their own gods and have lived in a state of alienation from God, each other, and even themselves.

Yet, God has never been content with this situation, and so from the beginning of time, God has been coming alongside human beings to show His love, guide them, and rescue them.  The Old Testament (also known as the Hebrew Scriptures) is the story of God calling out the people Israel from all the nations of the world, calling them back into intimacy with Him and calling them to be a blessing to the whole world.

The New Testament is the story of how in time, God, Himself took on human flesh – the other great mystery at the heart of the Christian faith – and was born as Jesus.   Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise that Israel would be a blessing to all nations.  Through His life, death, and resurrection, He offered up abundant and eternal life to all who would believe, no matter who they were, where they were born, who their family was, whether they were male or female, or what their race or nationality was.

The New Testament tells us that Jesus came to bring life to all people.  To you and to me.  And he did so at great cost – taking on human weakness and human sorrows, and being rejected, abandoned, betrayed, and finally executed in a most painful way.   Why?  Because nothing will stop God from showering His love on those He created, and nothing will stop Him from working to restore that intimacy He always intended to have with each one of us.

God continues His work today – from the time of Jesus’ ascension and the birth of the early Church (also part of the New Testament’s story), until now, He has been sending His Spirit to us in order to call us into a life of truth, love, grace, and intimacy with Him.  To call us into the very life and love of the divine community of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

If we are to embark on a journey of spiritual formation, we must embrace this great truth – God is Love, and then we must embrace the truth that flows from this – each one of us is greatly loved by God.

While God loves humanity as a whole, He doesn’t love us in the abstraction.  God uniquely created each one of us and He knows us intimately and loves us in all our beauty and uniqueness and yes, even badness.  He doesn’t turn away from us even though we frequently turn away from Him.  Rather, He works to restore us.  He loves us where we are at, but He calls us into a something more beautiful – a life of increasing beauty, truth, grace, freedom, love, and intimacy with Him.  How wonderful it is to be so loved!

Psalm 139: 1-18

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Page Written by Kristen Yates

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