The God that Delights in Us

October 19, 2006

Daily OfficeWhoever you are, and wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith, you are welcome here.

 It is a phrase we find more and more often in our churches, thank God. In my work as a small group leader at All Saints Pasadena, I found that the one single thing that attracted people to the church more than any other was this one phrase- the Eucharastic invitation issued before every Communion, reminding us of God’s inclusive love and acceptance of all of us no matter what.

The rector of that parish often reflected that the experience is so overwhelming that many people spend the first year just sitting in one of the back rows crying through the worship experience, healing from the spiritual wounds that they bring with them on their journey.

What a horrible God we would have if it were any way other than inclusive.  A punitive God.  A judgemental God.  A God without compassion.

Of course God wants us to make “proper” choices.  -AND- Jesus, in the incarnation, came to show us that God knows what it is like to be human, to be in solidarity with us, to be a part of this broken world.  Just because God has hope for us doesn’t make God a transactional God- a God of conditional love.  God is bigger than that.

One of my favorite priests, Zelda Kennedy, told me this allegory.  A master had many servants and was a very benevolent master.  He loved his servants.  He sympathized with them and wanted to be with them.  But whenever he went to their quarters to try and be with them, he knew they acted differently then they would when he wasn’t there.  They waited on him, no matter what he tried to do to stop them.  Because he loved them so completely, he wanted to be a part of their community- to experience them on their terms.  So he dressed like a servant and went to the servant’s quarters and was accepted into their community.  He was able to live as they lived, loving them fully in an equal relationship, making his love for them even greater.

That’s an amazing love.  And that’s what we have in God.

Today’s Psalm is Psalm 18.  It’s a really good one.  Here are some exerpts:

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
   my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
   my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
   so I shall be saved from my enemies.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
   to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
   and my cry to him reached his ears.

He reached down from on high, he took me;
   he drew me out of mighty waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
   and from those who hated me;
   for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity;
   but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
   he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Our God is so wonderful that he delights in us.  How wonderful.

If nothing else, that makes me delight in God, too.

j

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2 Responses to “The God that Delights in Us”

  1. zelda kennedy Says:

    Jeff,

    I decided to check out your blog after Ed shared your email with me. It was quite inspiring. Thank you for understanding how God works and being willing to challenge.

    Often we share our thoughts and stories and wonder if others are really listening. You’ve made me realize that I must always share the stories. Can’t wait to hear more about your journey. My love, peace, and joy goes with you as I keep you and your family in prayer.

    zelda

  2. Jeff Says:

    Zelda –

    I’m always listening when you speak!!

    You should know that by now!!

    Thanks so much for what you are doing and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

    j


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