I’ve thought a lot about what I would want my first real entry on my blog to be. I want to share with you some of what has been on my heart and mind over the past year. And, hopefully, I’ll get some new inspiration too. I wrote these words in mid-February. I think that this piece is part of what inspired me to create my blog because it reminded me of how much I am loved by God and why I like the notion of being ‘Rooted’. The Ephesians verses (Ephesians 3:17-19) that inspired my blog title influenced this writing as well. As a matter of fact, now that I review them, I have realized that verse made its way into several pieces this past year that I will share with you…a fitting start as I introduce you to Rooted. You are welcome here at Rooted no matter what your faith. And if God isn’t your thing…I hope you will still stick with me. I believe He loves everybody.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16. If I’m being honest, I would have to tell you that I’ve never really been crazy about this verse. I feel like it might be blasphemy just to think that. Seems like it’s a flagship verse in the Bible, and I hope you will not take offense if this verse is special to you. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think my silly issue with the verse is that I felt at times like it was overused. When I was a teenager, struggling with my priorities and how much I was ready to commit to God, I heard this verse over and over again. I may be risking getting struck by lightening here, but that familiar verse in the book of John began to feel trite to me. I need to be clear that I’m sure these specific Holy Words no doubt speak directly to many people…just not me. I do not doubt the power of the Word. Especially not the Word that became flesh. Perhaps for me, eternal life just wasn’t the sell.
You see, I’m kind of short sighted. I tend to be more influenced by the now (like today), not the thought of eternity. And in the now, I’m driven by love, by being loved. So that’s why when our pastor, Martin, at Christ Church Santa Fe, read this verse in a sermon from Ecclesiastes that focused on being in love with God, I heard it in a different light.
Martin noted, emphatically, that it is impossible to find Truth without being in love with God. He reminded us that just knowing mechanisms of theology, like justification by faith, does not bring us salvation. Our salvation does not come through our wisdom, certainly not through our efforts at righteousness. Instead, said Martin, we have to radically commit to loving God before leaning into these works (that are not bad in themselves). I was beautifully reminded that our God, the Creator of the Universe, is a person who shows up, whether we do or not. He loves us first. And when we show up, the love that abounds in our hearts is immeasurable…in the now and for eternity.
I write a lot about the people I love, but on the week I wrote these words, which happened to coincide with Valentines Day, I enjoyed focusing on being loved by my God. I just prefer the verse that inspired this blog. Through Ephesians 3:17-19, I am drawn by the wide and long and high and deep love of Christ. But that just didn’t fit on the back of youth retreat t-shirts as easily as John 3:16.
And it’s only in this Perfect Love that we can, in turn, love – with our whole hearts – our neighbors, our spouses, our best friends. I really like this quote by Caroline Coleman in her A Chapter a Day Blog on 1 Corinthians 13: “Because here’s the good news. LOVED is patient, LOVED is kind. LOVED is not rude…” That’s the goal anyways.
You know what 1 Corinthians says shortly there after? Love never ends. And here we are back at eternity. Jesus is Love. Maybe I need to give John 3:16 another chance. I just need to focus on the first half of the verse.
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” -Ephesians 3:17-19