August 6, 2019

Yesterday, when I walked into Dennis Hall, Margaret was the morning’s volunteer staff babysitter. She was sitting at the receptionist desk. When Margaret saw me, she said, “I am having the best time reading these obituaries.” That was new.

Even though I’ve heard a lot of strange comments through the years, I have to admit Margaret’s ranked right up there near the top, so I decided I needed a little more information.

Margaret is our church historian. She had recently written the United Methodist Church Commission on Archives and History about the obituaries of the previous senior pastors of our church. They sent her thirty-five. She began to read some of them out loud so I could understand why she was enjoying the obituaries. That’s when I got it.

One obituary said, “Rev. Robert P. Shuler was impregnated by the grace of God….” I thought that role was reserved only for Jesus’ mother, Mary, but apparently the same concept also applied to a previous pastor of our church. Did I mention the pastor was male?

Another obituary said, “W. L. Barr speaketh even from the dead.” That was a first for me.

Needless to say, in order to understand what is truly being communicated, we must understand the context in which something is said. But there is one exception.

No matter what the context, no matter what you have done, said, or thought, God will always love you. This message never changes in relation to the circumstance in which it is said – God loves you – end of story. That’s good news.

Jesus said: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

Jesus didn’t say God only loves perfect people but everyone; even people as self-consumed as we are. God loves us all.

So no matter what you face in life, what others may think about you, or what you think about yourself, when God looks at you, he sees someone he loves enough to die for. And that’s exactly what he did.

Live your life today knowing the one who set the stars in the sky, the fish in the sea, and the flowers in the fields, loves you. Knowing that, you can face whatever the world throws your way. That’s because God is good.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, thank you for loving me. Mold me into the person you planned me to be. Forgive my arrogance and help me to serve with humility and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Just know that God knows both the good and bad in you and chooses to love you. I know the good and bad in me and I wouldn’t love me if I was God but as of yet, God has never asked my opinion. Thank God, God’s God and not me.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.

Tom Robbins