Today we continue our series, where I share reflections related to my snapshot of my current theological understandings thanks to Discourse. If you need a refresher, check out the introduction piece to the series which provide links to all the other pieces. As has been the practice, I will share what I came up with for the class first by indenting, and then provide further reflection here on the blog based on it.
God loves all.
There are no stipulations to God’s love.
God’s love is expressed through: presence; through being in relationship with us, in the midst of all our good, bad, and ugly.
God’s love is unconditional, though it would make sense that God is disappointed when we don’t return the love. However, there is nothing that can be done to earn God’s love. It is pure and simply a gift. How can we help but not want to share this gift with others?
My theological focus is unequivocally on what it means to love and serve our neighbor. It guided and grounded my theology in my thesis and continues to guide what I consider and write about here on my blog. I believe that God loves all (hence all of the acts of promise in the scriptures; and the life, death, resurrection, and ministry of Jesus…), and I believe we are called to show and embody that love through love and service to each other as we love ourselves.
There is nothing that can be done to earn God’s love. God’s love is a gift, pure and simple. So what do we do in response to God’s gift? I believe this is the joyful response which sends us out into the world with hope, love, mercy, and awareness of God’s abundance. It’s what compels us to live into all of that and to share it with the world and do good- to our neighbors, our strangers, our larger communities, etc. through word and deed. It’s kind of like the hymn, “How Can I keep from Singing?” How could you not share the love of God with others?
Particular songs or hymns that come to mind about “God Loves” include David Haas’ “You are Mine” and Craig Courtney’s choral setting “Be Not Afraid.” Haas’ text and music is so beautiful. The verses are wonderful, and the refrain is such a beautiful summary of such deep theology. The refrain, “Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home; I love you and you are mine.” Not much more needs to be added to that. And Courtney’s text is based on Isaiah 43 and is a further illustration of the ideas Haas incorporates in his hymn.
What do you think? What does it mean to you that God loves? I look forward to the conversation. The next post in this series will consider the idea that “God envisions.”
Source: David Haas, “You Are Mine,” (Chicago, IL: GIA Publications, Inc., 1991), OneLicense, found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 581.