Posted by: HAT | January 12, 2015

Feelin’ the Love?

painting of a woman with a blond child on her lap combing the child's hair

… like when Mom tries not to pull your hair …

Hi, Gang!

Our congregation was a little sideways of the liturgical calendar and our own customs this week, as I didn’t serve communion last Sunday (since I’m not authorized to do that) and I didn’t preach the Epiphany texts (because I loved Jeremiah more), so in worship it was Epiphany and in the multi-gen Sunday school class after worship it was Baptism of Jesus. [For the uninitiated, Epiphany is the holiday associated with the 3 Kings or the 3 Magi, text Matthew 2:1-12, and Baptism of Jesus is, well, Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, when either Jesus or John or everyone sees the Holy Spirit descending like a dove and hears a voice from heaven that says “You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.”]

The emphasis in Sunday school was on the feeling of being “beloved.” We were supposed to write down our “achievements/accomplishments/successes” on a large sheet of paper, and talk about how people celebrate those, and talk about how/when we are celebrated just because we “are” – presumably birthdays count here, and we talked about things like “hey, let’s go get ice cream” and whether that is more parents celebrating children’s existence or parents just wanting to eat ice cream, and giving hugs and high-fives, and things like that. And at one point the question we were supposed to think about was “how does it or would it feel to know you are God’s ‘beloved?’”

I don’t know, but I am guessing that a more pertinent question would be “have you ever gotten the sense that you really are God’s ‘beloved’?” That is, not in the abstract way that 8-year-olds know the right answers to the questions in the children’s message, but in the way that, e.g., you notice you are not just learning how to ride a bike, you’re doing it.

Because I live with some people who I know love me, and who I’m pretty sure know I love them, and we know this because we tell each other so pretty frequently, and we also do things like pick up each others’ socks and sort each others’ mail and try to remember what they would want to get from the store even when we forget to tell them we’re going to stop there on the way home from work, that sort of thing. And even so, most days, I do not feel as good as it would be reasonable to feel knowing that these people love me, because on most days I am really thinking more about stuff on my to do list and how I wish I had gotten a little more sleep than I am thinking about how nice it is that I live with these people who love me. It’s not that the love isn’t there to feel, it’s that a lot of stuff gets in the way of noticing that I’m feeling it.

And that’s with people I can see, and hug.

If you take my point.

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