Yesterday I posted a piece on God’s agape. In that post I made the claim “wherever (agape) love is, God is.”
How surprised was I to receive this picture in a text message the following day? The answer: Both very and not so surprised.
That’s the power of Agape...God’s way of saying to us, “I Am everywhere, in everything, every day, in every way.” Meditate on that for a while.
The famous Lutheran theologian, Adolf Harnack, referred to this chapter as, “the greatest, strongest, deepest thing Paul ever wrote.” And G. Campbell Morgan, said that “If one examined this chapter, it would be like dissecting a flower to understand it. In the process, one would tear the flower apart and lose its beauty.” My goal today isn’t to tear it apart Paul’s perfectly penned words, but to find our place and God’s power in them.
It should go without saying that the subject of this chapter is love. But not the kind of love I use to describe my longing for donuts or the feelings I have for my wife and kids. Instead Paul chose a rarely used Greek word “Agape.”
I’ve talked about agape before; describing it as a type of altruistic, undeserving, unmerited love. The ancient Greeks considered it to be Divine because no human could achieve it. Maybe that’s why Paul chose to use it. And why the early church took the idea and ran with it.
If you read the entire epistle, you’ll see that Paul did not have brides, bouquets, or unity candles in mind when he wrote it. He was not trying to be poetic either, but pastoral. Paul had heard that there were some in Corinth who were trying to enhance their status in the church by puffing-up their spiritual gifts. The age-old, “I’m right, you’re wrong, so get over it” type stuff.
Now there will always be people who think their insight or opinion is better than everyone else’s. And will do whatever it takes to get their way. This happens in business, in politics, in school, and even in the church. Yet tucked away in the Bible are these profound verses where Paul both admonished and affirmed the young church with one simple command: practice agape, be the divine love of God.
watch the message here
Agape is our assurance that no matter how far you have strayed from doing what God has called you to do, you are never beyond the boundaries of God’s love. And the proof of this claim is Jesus – the incarnation of God’s agape.
The character of love is Jesus.
If you want to know who Jesus is, then all you have to do is look at what he does. Jesus is God’s love because he lived agape in all that did. Again, replace the word love in this passage with the name Jesus.
Jesus cares more for others than for himself. He isn’t selfish, or force himself on others, or have the need to be first. Jesus doesn’t revel when others grovel. He takes pleasure in being truthful. He trusts God always. He doesn’t keep score but keeps leading us onward and upward to God’s glory.
When we look at Jesus through the lens of Paul’s letter, we see that wherever this kind of Love is practiced, God’s love is present. Our world today could use agape because it defuses fights, and exhausts the need to be right, or to get its own way simply because it’s not focused on itself but on the other.
There was a couple who had been married for 60 years and had no secrets except for one: The woman kept in her closet a shoe box that she forbade her husband from looking in. But on her deathbed the two opened the box together. In it was a crocheted doll and $95,000 in cash. She explained to her husband that her mother taught her that the secret to a happy marriage was to never argue. Instead of fighting she should crochet a doll. Her husband was touched. Because there was one doll was in the box meant she’d only been angry with him only once in 60 years. “But what about all this money?” he asked. “Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling all the dolls.”
While Paul isn’t speaking of weddings, his pastoral point remains true in all circumstances. Our capacity to flourish in God’s love is realized when we can live out the love of God as revealed in Jesus the Christ.
By seeing and doing what Jesus did, we begin to understand that Love is not so much a feeling or spiritual gift. It’s an action. A way God intended us to give our gifts and talents to others. When we give ourselves freely to others… we are giving others a glimpse into God’s gracious heart.
The enduring presence of love is us.
We are both loved and love. My fear is we throw the L word around so much that we’ve lost any sense of agape.
The other night my wife and I were enjoying a glass of wine after dinner when out of the blue, she says, “I love you.” And jokingly I asked “Is that you or the wine talking?”
“It’s me,” she said. “And I was talking to the wine.”
I still remember that time my daughter fell in love with four different guys in a single day…Niall, Harry, Louie, and Liam. But is that love?
Around the same time Fiona began her love affair with One Direction, there was a post making its way around Facebook. It was written by a concerned mom whose daughter always fell head-over-heels in love with whomever she was dating.
When the mom saw her daughter getting involved with a guy she had reservations about, she handed a piece of paper to her daughter with the words of 1 Cor. 13 written on it. And wouldn’t you know it, she put the boy’s name wherever love was written or implied.
She told her daughter if this boy could passed this test, he was worthy of her love.
It didn’t take long for the young girl to think about all the times her boyfriend laughed at her when she goofed up. And earlier that day she saw him lie to a teacher so he could do something he wanted to do.
The mother concluded her post by stating, “Not only did this give my daughter greater discernment about others but it also has helped her reflect on her own behavior.”
I invite you to put your name in the passage, and think about how might it affect the way you see yourself or how others respond to you.
When we take on the qualities of Jesus, God’s agape, we attract those same qualities from others. Patience begets patience. Kindness begets kindness. Love begets love.
God is the primacy of love. Jesus is the character of love. And we are the enduring presence of a love that can transform and renew the world.
But the divine love we receive through Christ is not merely left behind in the hearts of others when we die. But it grabs hold of us and pulls us into God’s heart throughout eternity.
I leave you with the charge Paul gave to the Corinth Christians: “Be on your guard; stand firm in your faith; be courageous; be strong; and let all that you do be done in love.”
Bartlett, David L. and Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting on the Word, Year C, Vol. 1. (Westminster John Knox: 2009) pp. 302-306.
Garish, Jim. Word of God Today. http://www.wordofgodtoday.com/1-corinthians-13 (accessed Oct. 23, 2019)
God Vine. My Daughter’s Boyfriend Test. https://www.godvine.com/read/love-verse-insert-boyfriend-name-test-relationship-951.html (accessed Oct. 23, 2019).
At a recent wedding I offered the couple three pieces of adivice which I learned to embrace along the way. If we are going to love others, we must first begin with loving ourselves. And we can only truly love ourselves if we able to be our true self for the world to love.
The first piece of advice to the newlyweds was, "Be yourself."
However awkward or clumsy, or imperfect you might think you are always be yourself. It’s who God made you to be, and if God made you this way then you are nothing less than perfect and good. You have great potential to succeed in business as well as in love. Be you… who God made you to be…a gift to the world, and more importantly a gift to each other.
While you are a heavenly gift, you are also a part of this world which has impacted and influenced your life. So, remember to be more heavenly – more kind, patient, gentle and attentive to one another. This will go a long way in a world where the bed might feel too small, or the room too public, your true feelings too private.
The second piece of advice was: "Be present."
Time is fleeting. Don’t waste it worrying about what has already happened or trying to predict what might happen years down the road. It will only pull you away from being in the moment where life is actually happening – either drawing you together or pulling you apart. Just as you need to be who you are, you need to be present to fully be that person God made you to be…again, you are the gift that you give to each other in every moment of life.
And lastly, the third piece of advice is something I think we could all do better at. "Be one."
This means be One Humanity. One love, one heartbeat, one voice, one passion and one vision, one dream, one reality.
This is the purpose of marriage – of two people coming together to be one. It's a time when two make one covenant promise to give of one's self as well as receiving each other in love. We might not always agree on things, and that’s okay. Because when we stand as one then compromise doesn't feel like a sacrifice but an opportunity to grow closer together.
My charge to the couple was this: “As gifts to each other, dare to love honestly. And to be a compassionate friend to one another. For the love you give and the love receive will lead you closer and closer to God as well as those whom God has given you to love.”
Boy if that doesn't go against the currents we are swiming against today. We have trouble right out of the gate with the first step. We have trouble being ourselves for so many different reasons - fear of rejection being one of the biggest.
In a recent writing on this topic Fr. Richard Rohr writes, "I think God’s desire for us is to live into the fullness of our humanity and our identity. If we stay small and “hide our light” under a bushel basket, there is almost no place for God to move in, through, and with us for the sake of the world!"
As a kid at church camp we used to sing the song "This Little Light of Mine" and what better way to let your light shine but to shed off that basket that society places on you and be who God made you to be; a good and unique contribution to the world. You are a gift, that the world desparately needs to open.
In a time when girls where not to anything more than sugar and spice, the Reverend Elizabeth Edman received a gentle affirmation and lesson from her mother about knowing and being who God had made her to be. Edman writes of this particular incident:
I was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1962. The world I grew up in was defined by rigid binaries: white/black, capitalist/communist, north/south. Oh yeah, and male/female. That one didn’t work for this tomboy. When I was five, I had to drag my mother into the boy’s section of the shoe store to look at sneakers. “Mama, c’mere! Let me show you the ones I want!”
My family taught me, “Be who you are, Elizabeth, even when other people give you guff.” When I presented the shoes to the clerk, he said, “Those are boys’ shoes.”
My mother cut him off: “Yes, size four, please.”
My mother was a singer. Being who she was meant having the courage to witness God’s presence in the sacred music she loved. You could see her put her whole trust in God, entering into this space between heaven and earth where her best voice, her best self, emerged.
Christianity is all about being who you are [what I call your True Self in God–RR]. That’s what Jesus was trying to tell us: Orient your whole being to the sacred, he insisted. Not because I’m telling you to, not because it’s what Scripture demands; do it because it’s who you are. It’s who God created you to be. God made us to be complex creatures, every one of us, for a reason. So if you want to honor God, here’s the first step: Know who you are. Be who you are. Be the person God created you to be."
Great words to live by. And how lucky was Edman to have a mother who loved her as such.
Love is the single greatest gift given to us all by our Heavenly Parent who loves us unconditionally, and as such has blessed us all so abundantly. We are God’s gift of love made visible so we can be shared, united, and one.
If we want to bring goodness into the world, then we need to be willing to bring ourselves in all it's weirdness and oddities. God loves and creates each one of us as a unique being with different gifts and challenges. Why not let them shine.
And so I give you this charge, go out and be the person who God created you to be. Be present and let that light shine brightly so God can move through you effortlessly. Be One with God, and let God be one with you so that you can be united to and with all of creation; caring for one another as if you are caring for the needs of Christ himself.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy (Riverhead Books: 1996), 88.
Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations: True Self and False Self, October 24, 2019 which you can receive at The Center for Action and Contemplation website.
Elizabeth M. Edman, Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity (Beacon Press: 2016).
Today I found a lot of positive posts on Facebook. Either people are getting nicer or simply fed up with all the crap that has been peddled lately. But this one, by a friend in ministry, posted this. Such a simple reminder of what kind of an impact we can have with very little effort. Thanks Jimmy C for posting this wonderful reminder.
So, I just got back from a lovely trip to Scotland, where I was invited to officiate a wedding of an old friend of mine. It was a beautiful occasion and a spectacular location in the Scottish Borders along the River Tweed where the leaves where just beginning to change colors.
The weather was supposed to be rainy and cold, so I grabbed a raincoat and a very thick sweater. Both took up valuable space in my suitcase… and both were never worn because it was so lovely there.
Checking the weather before I left is about all the time I spend preparing for my trip. I spent many hours preparing the words for the wedding ceremony. But as for everything else, I probably took about a half hour max to compare airfare prices, book my flight, and rent a car. And only half that time packing my suitcase.
My friend Dawn is the polar opposite. She prepped for months for her trip to Ireland. She joked about practicing packing and unpacking her bags as if she is preparing for an Olympic event. Unlike me, she goes well prepared. Has all she needs and knows where it is.
By the time she landed in the Emerald Isle, Dawn had her entire journey mapped out – down to the local grocer. Whereas I relied on the overly polite British lady in my GPS to help me navigate the roads and roundabouts so I wouldn’t get lost or starve to death.
We all prepare differently, because each trip is different. Yet no matter how we go about it, nothing compares to the planning God has made to be with us. Then again, God wasn’t planning for just a visit. Read: John 14:1-7
The scene of this passage is set in the upper room where Jesus has gathered with his friends for one last meal. Up to this point, Jesus has washed their feet – teaching them what it means to serve. He has revealed his betrayal by Judas who has already slipped out into the night. He has told them he is leaving soon and where he is going, they cannot come. He even foretold of Peter’s imminent denial to the shock of all present.
So, when Jesus tells his friends, “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” it’s easy to understand why there’s a little push back. They’ve been looking for the Messiah. And now they believe they have found him. What they don’t know is that in less than 24 hours, all they had hoped for will be nailed to a cross. And Jesus wants them to be prepared.
watch my message here
This relationship begins not with some great faith which might seem impossible to achieve. It starts with a sliver of belief in the preparation God has made to remove our troubles, distress, agitations and fears through the redemptive work of Christ. Try to imagine the prep that went into that!
After a long overnight flight and a nerve-wracking drive to the rental home, I was exhausted and needed sleep. Unfortunately, I arrived well before our check-in time, and the owners were still preparing our rooms from the previous renters. As I waited in the car for them to finish, I thought about Jesus trading his righteous robe and holy halo for an apron and rubber gloves.
It’s funny to think of Jesus pushing a vacuum and making a bed for me. But that’s what he does. He serves others. He feeds them, washes their feet, and cares for all their needs. So, it’s no surprise that wherever Jesus is, or whatever he’s doing, it’s all to prepare a place for our hearts to share oneness with God.
It makes my heart feel good, knowing there is a place that Jesus is preparing for us and that he is going to come back and take us there. That’s why I often read this passage at funerals or at the bedside of the dying. But every now and then someone asks me “What is that place? And where exactly is it?”
Like so many of us, Thomas also wants to know the way to this place so he can be in the safe care of his Messiah. Can you blame him? Up until meeting Jesus, Thomas relied on the world to make sense of the great mysteries of life and death.
As Jesus begins to reveal the truth for him, its natural for Thomas to want a map or a softly spoken British Sherpa to tell him where to go… because these are roads he’s never traveled. There are signs that are hard to read. And roundabouts ready to throw him off course.
As the Bible reveals, Jesus knows the only way to make sense of the mystery of death is to enter it. And the only way to come out the other side is to follow God through it.
Like a soft spoken voice guiding the way through a backwards maze, Jesus calmly tells his beloved friend, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
I read these words and find comfort knowing Jesus is exactly what I need to prepare for life’s journey; there is no need to panic, no need to search desperately for a secret map. I just need to follow the One who is already One with God.
I can trust and believe he knows the way because he’s already been there before. By his words and deeds, Jesus reveals the fullness of God’s love for me, so I know where I am going in a world of twists and turns.
I invite you to join me on this trip. I invite you to hear Jesus’ words and follow his way of living, so you will find your place of peace in God’s expansive and everlasting heart… no matter where you are or what the world throws at you.
Jesus said, “Believe in God. And Believe also in me.” In doing so, he’s telling you to believe in who God made you to be – a beloved child with a great mission. Through Christ, God has already prepared you for glory. By seeing and doing what he does, you too can reveal the personhood of God for others. This is why I believe this passage isn’t so much about being with Jesus in some afterlife, but it has everything to do with our life here and now.
As the world will tell us we can’t, Jesus says we can. This does not necessarily happen in spectacular ways like making the blind see or raising someone from the dead. Yet wherever you bring healing, forgiveness, or any life-giving work into the world, the glory of God is made visible. The presence of God is known. And the love of God is felt.
It is as though God had thought very carefully and spent a lot of time prepping…not so we can just be in heaven after we die. But so we can experience heaven as we live and travel in this journey called life.
After you are done reading this, I hope you will ask yourself where you might become the presence of God’s love in the world.
How might you be for others the way of Jesus, the truth of Christ, and the life that draws people back to the Oneness of God’s ever-expanding love?
This past summer, while struggling through the extreme heat wave that crippled Southern California, I was in bed stewing and lamenting over something as trivial as "what am I doing with my life." My friend Dawn told me, "I was throwing myself a pity party." She was right. That's exactly what I was doing. And it felt pretty good to shower myself with some "woe is me" Job kind of stuff.
Just as I was working my ego up into a heated debate with God over my current situation, the AC kicked on and I felt a little tickle brush my skin. It was a strange way for God to remind me to be grateful. True, I was grateful, because I had AC. And even though I couldn't afford to keep it running all day, I had it knowing 80% of the world does not have such a luxury. But my gratitude felt cheap and thin. The pity party was over and I resumed doing whatever it was I needed to do that day, but was I really grateful of my "current situation"? Not so much, and yet it sticks with me like salt to skin on a hot summer day whenever I begin to bemoan about my life.
This past week I was given an all-expense paid trip to Scotland to officiate the wedding of an old friend of mine. I was grateful for the opportunity to go back the motherland. The last time I was in Scotland I was recovering from throat cancer surgery, which I was also profoundly grateful for. Even though I didn't get upgraded on my flight, I was grateful to have been upgraded to a more luxurious and much more expensive rental car when I got there.
Once again, that gratitude sounds a little weak I know, but it made a difference knowing that my greater fear wasn't leg room or lack of screen on the plane, it was driving for the first time on the opposite side of the road. I was grateful beyond words that I never once crashed and not sure I even came close thanks to my rental Mercedes Benz. Had it not been for the AC kicking on, I wonder if I would have been grateful for this car...or for the patience of the other drivers on the road.
As I drove through and wandered about the Scottish countryside, my grateful heart sang of God's wonderous hand in the exquisite automn beauty that surrounded me. And for the good weather and the good health to enjoy it. While I was grateful to go alone, without my wife and kids, I was equally as grateful to have spent the week with a few other families and thier kids. My heart felt alive, and I was grateful for the adventure and the experience.
This gratefulness seemed a bit larger than something as trivial as AC. I would have to be completely void of emotions not to feel gratitude for this wonderful gift. But without having been tickled by the AC that day, would I have truly understood the magnitude of joy and gratitude that filled my heart? I would hope so, but not sure.
The point I am trying to make stems from something Henry Nouwen once taught about being grateful of those things in our past that help us to realize what we are given in the present moment.
How do these words speak to you, where you are today? How do they help you see what God has done for you and what God will continue to do for you? How has this changed the way you see yourself or others? And lastly, how does this make you grateful that you read this? I'm curious to know.
On his deathbed Francis said, “I have done what is mine to do; may Christ teach you what is yours!”
His words and works are a special invitation to us all to participate in God’s Kingdom with the unique gifts we’ve been given.
In the gospel of Luke, the disciples doubt they have what it takes to accept such an invitation. They feel like it will take more faith than what they have. You might feel the same way – wondering how in the heck anyone can live like Christ, or love as he called us to do?
Even though I ask myself that all the time, it doesn’t invalidate the job of the church or her members. In addressing their concerns Jesus gives us this answer in Luke 17:5-10:
This might seem like two idea’s crammed into one reading. First Jesus talks of faith, and then jumps into something about being a slave. It feels like one of those incomprehensible tweets we get on a daily basis. How are we to read into this? By simply remembering that we follow Jesus. And not some rambling stooge on Twitter.
A few years ago I was struck by something I read from Richard Rohr who wrote, “After two thousand years of studying to be like Jesus Christ we’ve managed to avoid everything that he taught to do.”
His words echo something G.K. Chesterton famously said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
Both men’s views on Christianity, suggest Christ followers have never really put our faith into action, at least not like Jesus did. Yet I think even Rohr and Chesterton would agree there was at least one notable exception beside Christ – Francis of Assisi.
The son of a wealthy textile merchant, Francis always dreamed of earning glory in battle. His first time at war, Assisi was defeated, and Francis was taken prisoner and nearly died from an illness while in captivity.
Through a series of divine interventions, Francis found new glory in answering a unique call to repair God’s church which had fallen away from what Jesus intended it to be.
By the 13th century, the church was waging its own wars in Europe and in the Middle East. Priest were giving special privileges to the wealthy while forgetting the poor completely. Some leaders at the top were even selling positions of power to those who could afford it.
While all this was going on, Francis was leading a revolutionary new interpretation of the gospel life – one based more on the works of Christ than the doctrines of man.
This quiet revolution started after Francis met a stranger on a pilgrimage to Rome. Outside of St. Peter’s Church Francis saw a beggar calling out to him. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Francis did something unthinkable. He traded clothes with the man. And Francis himself spent the rest of the day begging for alms in his place. That experience shook him to the core causing him to renounce his family’s wealth and to take on the garb of the poor.
Following closely to the example set by Christ, Francis cared for those who were forgotten or pushed away by the church. And soon others followed suit, and a monastic movement was born.
watch the entire service here
What can Francis teach the Christian churches today?
In some respects many churches have gone back in time — supporting war-like leaders, favoring the rich over the poor, and being more concerned with defending politics and doctrine than loving people. They preach a new life in Christ but they themselves are unwilling to live it.
Perhaps Chesterton was correct to suggests that the Christian ideal is just too difficult and thus left untried. Not so with Francis. His approach to imitating Christ and living a life of service fits with what Jesus talks about in today’s Gospel reading.
In response to the disciple’s plea, Jesus tells them that they can accomplish great things for God with just the tiniest amount of faith. This is important to us because Jesus goes on to describe the thankless task of serving God.
But a careful read of this passage suggests there is a connection between these two seemingly different points: it’s in serving God that our faith is strengthened.
Francis took great effort to see Christ in every living thing...not just in people but in animals and in plants. He knew he could faithfully embrace a servant life because in every task he did he was actually serving the Lord in the process.
The challenge for us today is to see the Divine in all things, especially in the people we serve. In doing so, we can approach even the most thankless task with joy and grace.
I have to keep this in mind when I’m wiping up muddy paw prints off the couch or cleaning dried up toothpaste out of the sink. My dog doesn’t thank me for picking up her poop, but it still has to be done.
In his understanding of who Jesus was and what Jesus taught us to do, Francis knew he had all the faith he needed to give of himself completely to do the will of God because through Jesus God had given him complete and unconditional love. As he engaged with this divine love, Francis watched his faith grow stronger and stronger with every person he served.
I believe the same can be true with us. As Rev. Frank Logue points out, Jesus reminds us that "when we come in from doing something for God, don’t expect a reward, expect more work." You see, it wasn’t accolades that motivated Francis to see and do what Jesus does, it was love.
We are called to serve others with love, mercy and grace as if we are serving Jesus himself. Because to love thy neighbor requires us to constantly care for the needs of one another (including animals and our environment). With each step we take in this direction, our faith increases as does our love, our health, our peace, and our security.
Francis took his mustard seed of faith and used it to exchange clothes with a beggar. In the process, he found all he needed to work among the poorest of the poor. The very place where God needed him the most.
What is your mustard seed of faith? And how will you put it to work for the Lord? What steps are you willing to take as God opens your heart to this call to serve?
Francis took small steps of faith, each one emboldened him to trust God more. Likewise, with every step we take our trust strengthens – as does our relationship with our Creator and all of creation.
As we leave here today, let us look to the examples of Francis and strive to see Christ in every living thing. Let us serve one another as if we are personally serving our Lord.
Let us take up the challenge to embrace the Christian ideal by living it as if Christ actually meant what he said.
G.K. Chesterton concluded in his critique of Christianity by stating, “Let religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.”
Walking the life of faith is simply an act of love. When we embrace Christ with love, we are able to embrace everyone we see and everything we do with love.
And like Francis we can say that we are merely servants doing what we were called to do…be the mirror of Christ so others can see the Kingdom of God in all its splendor.
Special thanks to Fr. Frank S. Logue whose sermon An Act of Love (10/1/2016) inspired this message. (https://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/sermon/act-love-pentecost-17-c-october-6-2019).
This life has been good and I have learned a lot. Some days I like who I am, and other days I can't believe who I am or what I've become. But I would be lying if I said there weren't those days when I actually hated myself and what has happened to me.
I have learned this is just all part of the rollercoaster of life. Up and down emotional ride that is slow climb in some places and a fast descent in others. There are twist and turns that knock me around. And I am learning to embrace the dizziness and nausea that comes with age. I know when I get down on myself all I really need to do is settle into my breathing and gratitude. Sometimes I even have to simply sit down with my fears, or worries, or whatevers, and be hospitable to them. Give them some time to express themselves before I ask them to leave.
Age has taught me so much. I guest that old adage is true, "with age comes wisdom." Embracing the changes in all forms of my life is a daily task, that I must be mindful of so when I look in the mirror I see more than just an aging old punk rocker, or a father beaten down by time. I see who I am and what really defines me. It's not my age or my wisdom, my joy or my sorrow, my confidence or my fear...it's my place in the divine energy we call love.
Henri Nouwen writes this about who we really are, and what that might mean to the way we see ourselves, and others. As well as the way live our life, and love others. We are beloved children of God. It's that simple. If anything, his words help me change my point of view when I look at my tired self in the mirror every morning. I hope you will be encouraged as well.
Here is what Nouwen had to say in a piece entitled Accept Your Identity as a Child of God.
"Your true identity is as a child of God. This is the identity you have to accept. Once you have claimed it and settled in it, you can live in a world that gives you much joy as well as pain. You can receive the praise as well as the blame that comes to you as an opportunity for strengthening your basic identity, because the identity that makes you free is anchored beyond all human praise and blame. You belong to God, and it is as a child of God that you are sent into the world."
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”