Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"God Hugs You"

"God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms
of the mystery of God."
 - Hildegarde of Bingen
I am reading a book by Beth Moore called "JOHN: 90 days with the Beloved Disciple." It is a large book (440 beautiful, thick, cream-colored pages with deckle edges), and is part textbook and part journal. I am loving the study.

John is one of my favorite disciples, because of the way he saw and understood Jesus and Our Father. This book takes me deep into a sort of lectio divina process each day, entering the Biblical scenes with the disciples and imagining what it was like for them to walk with Jesus, listen to him and learn from him. There is a short scriptural reading for each day, a reflection on the scripture passage and a couple of journaling and/or prayer prompts.

The message of LOVE comes through this book loudly and clearly. As is often the case with any daily devotional practice, I frequently feel as if the reading was specifically written for ME that day. What an intimate and blessed feeling that is. The scriptural passage was from John 21: 15 - 23. I enjoy reading parallel versions, especially in The Message and The Amplified Bible.

Today's reading and reflections were helpful, discussing Jesus' repetition of the question, "Do you love me?" to Peter. I was blessed by Beth's reflections, especially words such as these:
"We might feed the sheep or serve the flock based on other motivations for a while, but only one thing will compel us to follow the Lord Jesus Christ faithfully to the death: love!...Only love will keep burning when everything else disintegrates into an ashen heap. Pray for this one thing more than you pray for your next breath. I am convinced love is everything.
     "But I wasn't the first one convinced. I simply follow a long line of believers who failed their way into the discovery that love is the highest priority and motivating force in the entire life of faith...
     "Beloved, over and over Jesus tells us, 'You can trust Me!' In this scene He is saying to His present-day disciples, 'You can trust Me with you, and you can trust Me with them. I am the same God to all of you, but I have a different plan for each of you. You won't miss it if you keep following. Remember, I've been a carpenter by trade. Custom blueprints are My specialty. God's glory is My goal. Now fill your canteen to the brim with love and follow Me.' " (pages 107 - 109)

What precious encouragement in difficult times, confusing times, painful times, uncertain times, in-between, liminal times. I thank God for Jesus, and for faithful mentors, writers, saints and apostles who inspire and teach us, remind us of what is true, and breathe freshness onto our path.


Princess Kate said...

Amen. Simply beautiful.

Elizabeth said...

"What precious encouragement in difficult times, confusing times, painful times, uncertain times, in-between, liminal times."


I recently attended a memorial service for a beautiful little boy in our community who died of cancer a couple of weeks ago. I felt such anger and annoyance during the traditional Catholic mass and then, slowly, was overcome by what I can only describe as Love. It was wondrous to me -- and how foolish and interesting that we must be reminded of it, again and again.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Beautiful. You encourage me with your words of wisdom...even when it is shared from someone else. Thanks for that.