“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.”
I John 3:1
Beloved Children of God
What may seem to us a black hole of need is actually a mine, and it’s a gold mine, which Jesus wants to unearth to bring into the light. The reminder about abiding, abiding, abiding is don’t run away. Stay put.
-Br. Curtis Almquist
Our theme this week is inspired by Jesus’ words remembered in John chapter 15, “Abide in me as I abide in you.” ‘Abide,’ that verb, which is repeated so many times in the Gospel according to John and the three epistles (of John). To stay, to be there, to dwell there, why is that repeated so many times?
For one, we may find ourselves not being able to believe that Jesus wants to abide in us. We can barely take ourselves. There may be something about ourselves – how we practice our life, our own sense of brokenness, inadequacy, lack of discipline, of (some days) duplicity – which we find unacceptable, and surely Jesus wouldn’t accept it either. We may also find that we feel like a black hole of need. And yet, Jesus does want to come and abide in us. And what may seem to us a black hole of need is actually a mine, and it’s a gold mine, which Jesus wants to unearth to bring into the light. The reminder about abiding, abiding, abiding is don’t run away. Stay put. Jesus has come to you, is cherishing you, and wants to expose you to God’s light and God’s life and God’s love for you.
We remember today how we are called ‘beloved children of God.’ Now what do you know about children? Children are still growing, physically, mentally, developmentally. They don’t have it all together. And what’s beautiful in this reminder that we’re called ‘children of God’ is that God creates us as children. We enter this world as children. If we look to the scriptures, we discover that we are called ‘children’ in God’s eyes for the rest of our lives.
Now we can take inspiration from Jesus who was born as a child. We have these snapshots of Jesus in the Gospels when he’s a very young infant, when he’s age 12, and then we don’t see him again until he’s age 30. What was going on during all of those, what are sometimes called “hidden” years? We don’t know. But, it seems that he was getting it together, finding his voice, finding his calling, finding what his life was to be about. It took a long time for him to claim who he truly was and what he was created to be.
And so for you: who you are now has come through a series of the best of successes and probably the most miserable of mistakes. Children are prone to stumble and get lost and sometimes feel terribly abandoned and not understood. In God’s eyes, regardless of how old you are, you’ll always be regarded as a child. You might find it helpful to do some reflecting on what you know about being a child. What was it like for you growing up? What was it that was good and formative in your life? And what was it for you that was breaking and perhaps de-formative in life? Then how is it that you can take in that God knows you and loves you as a child, a child that you will always be?
You probably do not have your act completely together. It’s going to take you the rest of your life and beyond, I think, for that to happen. But take some consolation in knowing that God creates children, knows children, and knows and loves you as a child. Where do you find that inviting? And where do you find yourself resisting the love and acceptance? Because I think that resistance is probably an invitation point in your prayer to Jesus.