The gift of every day presents an opportunity to consider what it means to be God’s beloved child and to see the image of God in every human being. Just as God said to Jesus on the occasion of his baptism, “You are my beloved; with you I am well pleased,” God continually speaks to us, “You are my beloved.” Being God’s beloved daughters and sons means that we are enough, solely because we are images of God—outward and visible signs of the mystery, love, and hope of God. How can we embrace and celebrate our belovedness?
God has blessed this broken world with us and others who might care for it and all who inhabit it, and who might partner with God to bring about healing and wholeness. Despite what today’s society and norms suggest, our faith teaches that spiritual and religious living, slowing down just enough, create a purposeful path for followers of Jesus to live more fully into who we are called to be. Accordingly, life at Grace-St. Luke’s seeks to assist us on the way. Our weekly and seasonal worship, learning, fellowship, and service opportunities are offered that we intentionally and radically might engage God, deepen connections, and invite non-parishioners to join us on The Jesus Movement of The Episcopal Church: “Following Jesus into loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, with each other and with the earth.”
It is early enough in the 2019th year of our Lord to consider how we might approach life. While naturally some things will change and some will remain the same, the God within and around our bodies invites us to voyage into our belovedness: being, becoming, living. In his book, Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) reflects powerfully on the matter. The following is a blend of his words and mine, as we embrace and celebrate belovedness and encourage others.
Being. Being the beloved means that “every time we listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls us the Beloved, we will discover within ourselves a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert. Once we have touched wet ground, we want to dig deeper…All we need is a desire to find the water and drink from it.” Becoming. Becoming is the journey of understanding that we are chosen, blessed, broken, and given to the world, all by the love and glory of God. It is about engaging the world and life with purpose, God’s holy purpose to reconcile the world, the mission of the Church: to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. Living. As those who are chosen, blessed, broken, and given, we are called to live our lives with deep inner joy and peace. It is the life of the Beloved, lived in a world constantly trying to convince us that the burden is on us to prove that we are worthy of being loved…the unfathomable mystery of God is that God is a Lover who wants to be loved. The one who created us is waiting for our response to the love that gave us our being. God not only says: “You are my Beloved.” God also asks: “Do you love me?” and offers us countless chances to say “Yes” to our inner truth.
Blessings and peace as we try,
The Rev. Ollie V. Rencher, Rector