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Lenten Devotion - day 7

I had some idea earlier today I wanted to tell you about. It was one of those ideas that made me think, “O share that!” But my day was busy (that’s why this letter is coming so late), and I forgot what the idea was.

That made me smile because we were just talking about recording good ideas when they come up. I’m getting older and already miss how I used to be able to remember most every idea I thought to remember.

Lent is about remembering though, and we have to remember because we so often forget. We must remember who we are, who we really are. We must remember we are the beloved. I hope to God that you have experienced the feeling of being beloved. And, not just by another person, but as if the universe itself loved you. Or, at least, the One behind the universe.

Have you ever had one of those moments? Maybe you were standing alone outside at night, staring into the sky when it was… perfect in that moment… I don’t know. It’s hard to describe that moment when I feel simultaneously small and insignificant, and cared for and loved too. It’s hard to know how to put words to a moment that feels both like a millisecond and timeless. But when I’ve had such moments, I felt the clear and beautiful peace that everything was as it was supposed to be. In those moments I knew I was loved.

Have you had one? I hope you have. It is one of the things I wish for everyone, the experience of their own belovedness in the midst of the totality of creation. But then days go on, life gets routine, and life gets hard too, and sometimes I forget who I am.

So Lent is here to remind me who I am. Whatever one says about the cross, something about it means we are loved beyond our wildest imaginations. However, when I remind myself, sometimes I think I’m too broken for it. I think I’ve done too much bad, created too much pain, turned my back on beauty and honesty too many times to be worthy of any love at all.

This is the curse of guilt, the belief that we somehow can change who we are. It is pride at its most terrible, because it convinces us we were strong enough to lose our belovedness. But we are the beloved because we are. To me it is simply fundamentally true. Everyone and everything is worthy of love and compassion because it was made by the One who is Love.

It is often hardest to love ourselves, because we often don’t feel worthy of our own love. But who are we not to love ourselves? Who are we to mock the God who loves us not by loving what God loves? My dear friend, I am convinced that if I love myself fully and truly, it will transform me into love. My actions would be love, because I would become love.

However, the stories of people who lived such a way are the stories of those who founded great religions. The rest of us get to follow them. So, we follow Jesus to the cross, but before that to the table. Where before the meal Jesus tells one of his friends, he will deny ever knowing him, and where after the meal he tells another, he will betray him. We go to the table where he gives himself for those of us who need to remember they are the beloved, because they, like we, blunder and stumble and give up and ruin things and think we’re lost. We need to go to the table where he tells us that his broken body and poured out blood… that’s for us. “Do this to remember me,” he said. So, we remember, we remember he loved us because he never forgot who we are even when we hurt him, and then we try to remember too. We try to remember we’re the beloved too.

Until tomorrow my friend,