The Joy of New Beginnings – A Reflection on John 3:1-16
Babies make us smile. When they smile and laugh at us, we have no choice, we smile and laugh in return. The laughter of a baby is a gift of grace. The smile the baby offers when she sees us has nothing to do with what we did. We did not earn the smile. The baby smiles simply because she loves us. The love we offer the baby is a gift of grace as well. The baby did nothing to earn our love.
In his book, The Second Mountain, David Brooks offers this perspective on the grace or gift of love:
After her first daughter was born, a friend of mine, Catherine Bly Cox, told me, “I found I loved her more than evolution required.” I’ve always loved that observation because it points to that deeper layer. There are the things that drive us toward material pleasure, and there are evolutionary forces that drive us to reproduce and pass down our genes. These are the layers of life covered by economics and political science and evolutionary psychology. But those layers don’t explain Chartres Cathedral or “Ode to Joy”; they don’t explain Nelson Mandela in jail, Abraham Lincoln in the war room, or a mother holding her baby. They don’t explain the fierceness and fullness of love, as we all experience it.
The loves described above are the love that God has for every human being. God loves you with a love far greater than evolution required. God loves you the way you loved your child the first time you held him. The calling on our lives is to learn how to rest in God’s love; to recognize that we are loved beyond measure – just because. We are loved infinitely without having to earn that love. We are on a journey in life to the place where we receive God’s unconditional love, and then return it unconditionally. Jesus called that experience being born again…
This is the final week of our generosity campaign; the season in which we consider what gifts we will off to support our congregation for the coming year. It is a time to think deeply about what God offers us, and what we in turn offer to God. As I think about what God has offered me, I realize that Jesus’ description is spot on. I have experienced a rebirth. I have a new lease on life. Actually, I have a new life! I have a life of God given potential in which I can focus my energy on receiving God’s love and returning God’s love. Perhaps you know exactly what I am talking about. Perhaps you are still trying to figure out where God is in your life. Welcome to the journey!
We are on a journey that has many mountaintop highs and some very deep valleys. If you are in a valley and are looking for a travel companion that can guide you towards rebirth, then you are reading the perfect blog post. Here are some of my current travel companions, and I know they would love to walk with you as well:
Ian Morgan Cron – The Road Back to You
Ian is a licensed therapist who uses the enneagram personality typing system to help people discover where they have become stuck in life, and then learn how to grow, to experience a rebirth, to become the people who God created them to be. The Road Back to You is an excellent entry point into the teaching Ian offers.
Amy Crumpton, https://victoryclubathletes.com/
Amy regularly worships with us in our Gathering services. Over the past couple of years, I have had long conversations with her about how God transforms lives. She has turned her life transformation experiences into a deep desire to give other people what she has learned. Amy is a licensed therapist, life coach, and personal trainer. Her Victory Club just might be what you need to experience a rebirth.
The whole purpose of Jesus’ ministry is to help people experience the unmerited and unlimited grace and love of God, then give that love to the world as we have received it. Today Jesus is speaking directly to you. He is saying, “You are loved by God and there is nothing you can do about it. Now pass it on.”
May the grace, peace, and love of God overwhelm you today.
Pastor Eric Meyer