I went kayaking at Leaburg before church last Sunday. The early morning beauty took my breath away—
sunbeams dancing across kaleidoscope water…
reflections of trees in glossy green…
wispy white clouds flirting with the bright blue sky…
vees of geese coming down river like the Blue Angels…
fat fish slapping into the water after catching their bug breakfast...
birds with their pre-coffee chatter, making plans for the brand-new day…
All for me! All for me! That’s what I was thinking. And I know God made it all for you too, but in the moment, all I could think was that he made it especially for me. And I just wanted to thank him with all of my heart.
It reminded me of an old hymn:
For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
So I made the transition from experiencing the beauty of the earth to sitting (floating, actually, but that sounds pretty weird) in the love of God that has surrounded me since before I even knew what it was. I, you, all of us—God loves us. It’s as simple as that. With all of the evil stuff going on in the world, it’s good to just STOP and remember the most important thing. We are loved by God.
I’m going through the book of Luke these days, meditating on what it would have been like to have been present when Jesus was beginning his ministry. The first time we see Jesus interacting with people after his time in the desert is when he goes to the synagogue in his hometown. In this scene, he gives us the mission statement for his entire life. So listen up—this is what Jesus was about (and spoiler alert—it’s all good):
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me…
to preach the good news to the poor
to heal the brokenhearted
to preach deliverance to the captives
recovering of sight to the blind
to set at liberty them that are bruised
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
People, it’s such good news. I hope you can find a minute this week to savor that and enjoy a few minutes in the presence of Love.
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17
I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. John 17:26
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us. 1 John 4:1