Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 352: Zechariah 5-6; Psalm 136; Mark 14

The Measure of a Man, of a People...of God...
After nearly half a century on this planet and in this life, I have learned about life. Many of the lessons have been hard ones to absorb, as my nature is to be more than a little stiff-necked, stubborn and resistant. Some have been easier to absorb, thank God...but all of them really boil down to some essential points as I learn what it means to be a man, to be one of a people walking before God, and to get to know God more fully. One of the most important points? The true measure of us as human beings? How well we love.

The challenge? Love is not a skill, but it does take practice. It isn't a trait, but it can be drawn out of us. It isn't genetic, but we do learn it from those who have gone before; but love is one of the most important of things to find, nurture and express in this life. Without it, we are truly lost...perhaps even irrecoverable....

...until we come to God's steadfast love. As the Psalmist says, "[It] endures forever...."

We cannot do anything to that love, save reject it...and even then it is like trying to hold back the tides of the ocean. God's love is steadfast, it is the fixed point in a moving universe. It is never out of sight, and it is always available to us...

The only thing we can do is deny it. In Peter's case, that denial was expressed three times. It was an incontrovertible rejection of relationship. If we did that to a any other human being in our lives, then we would lose them forever. Who would stick around after that? And yet, even in the midst of the Most Awful Day...God is still steadfastly loving Peter...and us. God's love endures forever.

As we enter into the celebration of the mysteries of the incarnation, the blessing of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord...please do not ever forget: God loves you with utter, complete and steadfast abandon. My prayer for all of us, as individuals and people arrayed in procession around the manger in which our God found flesh and bone to be a blessing, that we learn to express that full measure of adoration. Not only to adore God, but also to give ourselves a chance to express some small portion of that steadfast love to our neighbors, our family, our friends...and those whose names we can only ever hope to know whose need for God, our there in the world, is our very bread and butter in mission and service to the Christ-child.

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