In the midst of the busy holiday season, one of the “to do’s” sitting in my inbox is a Theological Prolegomenon, a series of 50 theological questions ranging from “What is Theology?” to “What is sanctification and how does it happen?” The questions will become part of a theological defense I will do in the New Year as a continuing education exercise to authenticate my pastoral status. Last night I was up late with Systematic Theology, answering question after question.
But in the midst of intense theology, the heart of faith sometimes gets crowded out. I woke this morning in the dark, and over coffee, considered the question “But what is the Christian faith about? Where is this journey meant to take us? Where do we go?”
I left the theology on the desk and spent time reading 1 John and then Brennan Manning. If you ever need to refocus on the great love of God, read 1 John. No book in the bible tells of God’s love more effectively.
Ahh yes, I am reminded, the Christian faith is a love story. A God who loved us, who sent His own son to share this love by living amongst us and through His life and death and resurrection, we are forgiven into God’s royal family. Ahh yes, I remember now. Where does the Christian journey take us? We go towards the Love of God, and we are transformed along the way into instruments of His grace, His mercy, and His power.
Brennan Manning, who is teaching me much about Jesus this week as I continue reading his book Lion and Lamb, writes, “The sole condition of Christianity is trusting faith. Christianity happens when men and women experience the unwavering trust and reckless confidence that come from knowing the God of Jesus.”
And all this is framed by God’s enfolding arms of love. Manning continues, “To believe means to realize not just with the head but also with the heart that God loves me in a creative, intimate, unique, reliable, and tender way.”
Yes- breathe that truth in again this morning- you are loved by God. His love is relentless and immeasurable and neverending. Have trusting faith in that love. It is enough to guide you on this journey. Take a deep breath and say it again. You. Are. Loved.