Matt preached on Sunday, and his sermon tied in so nicely to my thoughts from Saturday, it really helped me do more processing and kind of settle my spirit in terms of home and belonging and all that jazz. His main focus was 1 John 3:1 – See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
I love this verse (and translation, thanks NIV) for that word lavished. It reminds me that belonging to God instead of the world is not something to test my mettle or something to toughen me up or a way to earn Heaven; it is an amazing gift. As believers in Jesus, we are not foreigners because the world rejects us – what makes us different is that we’ve been adopted, miraculously accepted, into God’s family, and that brings a change that sets us apart.
Obviously there are times when not belonging feels painful, when waiting to experience a true sense of home aches and wears. But self-pity does not bring strength; joy brings strength, and I find joy in this word lavish. I picture a four year old icing a cake, slathering gobs of fudge to maximum capacity with no concern for how it looks or how it will taste because the only ratio he is concerned with is “the more the better.”God’s love and goodness toward us is unrestrained, over the top. It can be uncomfortable, but it is always right. My friend Jo recently blogged about being moved while singing John Mark McMillan’s wonderful song, How He Loves, and one of the lines sums up so much of what I want to say – If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. If you watch the music video I linked to, I hope you make it at least to the first chorus, just past the two minute mark. I love the intensity and the freedom and the reminder that we are not alone in our sinking, that there is a party coming because he loves us.