Beloved St. John’s community,
If you were to distill a primary message you got from church about who you are, what would it be?
Now, I’m not just talking about what you were literally told – though that for sure is important. I’m talking about the millions of unspoken implications from what we do and say, and what we don’t do and say. If we’re honest, I think the answer is complex. I hope that at least part of your answer would be to know that unequivocally, beyond everything you have ever done or left undone, you are utterly beloved of God and embraced in the person of Christ.
But if we’re honest, it’s sometimes hard to treat each other that way. Sometimes, all our talk about the things we need to do to make the world a better place can come across like a whole lot of “should’s” in a world already far too full of those. So today, this week when we will celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, I’d like to invite you to take a little spiritual pilgrimage with me back to our tradition’s imagination about the very beginning of time. Let’s travel across the vast expanse of history to that primordial place when all that existed was the void, the darkness and the deep. And in that place before warmth or love, the Spirit of God hovered in a gentle caring intimacy, and said, “Let there be light.” And there was light.
And each day, or eon, or measurement of time, God created something else. Sky. Earth. Plants. Animals. People. Rest. And each time God created something, God looked at it like a mother gazes enraptured at the newborn baby she has been yearning for so long to meet, and God whispered, “beautiful.” God saw that it was all good, so very good.
That goodness is the most true thing about who you are. It is like a candle, or a sun, within you that cannot ever be snuffed out by anything, even the lack of love from your imperfect human mother or father, or your own significant mistakes, or anything else in all creation.
In the world before there was violence, before there was hurt, before there was mental illness or apathy or racism, there was—and still is—the light of God’s face shining with delight upon God’s creation, including each one of us. Let yourself become aware of that goodness, shining within you like the sun. Let yourself skip a little bit with joy, or crack a few jokes. Let yourself know at your very core that it is OK to have joy. You can have the joy of a baby who learns to smile because it is mimicking the great smiling delight of its mother looking at it.
Today, let us allow ourselves a deep breath. Let yourself enjoy your garden, or the sun, or your kids, or the beautiful people walking around, or a good book. Go back to the original light that is your goodness, the image of God planted in you, and soak it in. From that deepest place of goodness, see the goodness of others around you. From that place, love flows as naturally as breathing.
With delight in your goodness,