Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Infinite Love for One

I was listening to NPR the other morning as we drove to work. One of the announcers was talking about a cone shaped nebula in an obscure constellation near Orion. The nebula is 2,500 light years away. The light astronomers see coming from the nebula today left its source 500 years before Christ was born. The huge size of the universe is unimaginable. Psalm 8 echoes through our minds as we try to grasp the grace and love of God: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” How is it possible that God loves me? As of February 24, 2010, the estimated world population is 6,804,600,000. How is it possible that God even knows I exist?

In one of the lectionary readings for this week, (Luke 13:34), Jesus laments, “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

Rev’d Monty Brown, pastor of St. Marks United Methodist Church is known for his odd sermon titles. This week’s title is El Loco Pollo – the crazy chicken. I wondered what he meant until I read this week’s passage from Luke, and then found this quote from Barbara Brown Taylor on the web:

"If you have ever loved someone you could not protect, then you understand the depth of Jesus' lament….This is the most vulnerable posture in the world --wings spread, breast exposed --but if you mean what you say, then this is how you stand. … Jesus won't be king of the jungle in this or any other story. What he will be is a mother hen, who stands between the chicks and those who mean to do them harm. She has no fangs, no claws, no rippling muscles. All she has is her willingness to shield her babies with her own body. If the fox wants them, he will have to kill her first; which he does, as it turns out. He slides up on her one night in the yard while all the babies are asleep. When her cry wakens them, they scatter.

She dies the next day where both foxes and chickens can see her -- wings spread, breast exposed -- without a single chick beneath her feathers. It breaks her heart . . . but if you mean what you say, then this is how you stand."
God loves you. He loves me. He loves each of us with an infinite, unimaginable love. He loves us, so this is how he stands, protecting us by becoming vulnerable, arms outspread as he died.

Our God is the God of amazing grace. Our God is the God who cares for the lilies of the field, who searches for a single lost sheep even when 99 sheep have been found. Our God not only knows our names and can count the number of hairs on our heads, but he created each of us in his own image. We should never doubt the infinite nature of his love. He means what he says, and he demonstrates it to us by how he stands.

Consider today what it means to your life that you are a beloved child of God.

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