Faith, Religion & Scripture, Notes & Essays by David Rodeback

Most of It Comes Down to This

Of late I’ve been less present here at my new non-political blog than I want to be. This is mostly because I’ve been so busy at my political blog, You may have noticed that there’s an election coming.

But that is not my point, and I have never wanted to disappear wholly into politics, or thought it would be wise. So here’s a completely apolitical thought I was thinking last night, prompted indirectly by something I happened to read. (It doesn’t matter what.)

I used to want to preach powerful, masterful doctrinal sermons — with the careful precision of this leader, the convincing power of that one, and the probing, relentless, disciplined intellect of another. (If I named names, many of you would be unsurprised.) Come to think of it, I still aspire to preach that way. But the following seems to differ from that somehow. Seems, at least. I don’t feel like I’m preaching here, though I think more fondly of that verb than some.

Last evening, I found myself reflecting on what I have said over the pulpits of my ecclesiastical life — much of which I can still go back and read, though I didn’t read any of it last night. It is voluminous. I thought also of things I have said in more private settings, to people who came to me in my role as leader or friend, for some kind of help or encouragement or forgiveness.

I saw tonight, not for the first time, that most of both those masses of words can be reduced to something like the following.

You, whoever you are, need not think that God is waiting to love you until you are more like that person you see at church or on television, or that neighbor down the street and around the corner, or any other person you have ever known on earth. He loves you now with all the passion, power, and perfection a divine Father can summon for his child. He loves you, I said — as yourself, as you are, and not for your resemblance to any other person whom you may envy or admire.

He intends to improve you, and I did not just say otherwise. But I will say that the voice in your head — or your ear — that whispers or yells that you are unloved and unlovable is quite simply lying. That voice, in the moment it says that, is the voice not of modesty or humility or cold and objective realism, but of pure, unadulterated untruth.

I suppose there is a sense in which God might love you even more, as you come more to resemble Himself and His Perfect Son. I do not see this as a contradiction; if anything, it is evidence of the limitations of our mortal minds and languages. That said, I am convinced that you, whoever you may be, already are more like Them than you can see or conceive or would ever admit. Therefore God loves you even more than more than you can know.

Most of my many sermons and my private counsel have been aimed at teaching this somehow, to someone or other, as I said. I’d be delighted if you would try to believe it too.

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