"I Still Love You"
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3: 1-7 (NRSV)
In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10-11. (NRSV)
"I don't love you anymore, Gran!" How many of you have heard that statement? I know I have. Well, Marion Turnbull's four-year-old grandson Tim was angrily folding his arms and glaring at his grandmother after she had scolded him for something.
"Oh, but I still love you," his grandmother replied, "and always will." Still mad, Tim turned and walked away. But within seconds he was back with a big smile, saying that he was sorry. Of course, Marion would always love him; just as we will always love our grandchildren. They may go astray at times, but we always pray for our children and never let them out of our hearts. We never stop loving them.
Through Christ Jesus, we are each God's child. God loves us and calls us even when in our desperate need we are very far from returning that love. God shows his love for Marion, and for us, in many ways, including necessary discipline, and is always there for us - even when we don't deserve it.
In Titus, verse 5, of the reading above, assures us that in mercy God has taken the first steps, and that the Holy Spirit renews our hearts so that we can have the hope of eternal life.
Prayer: Father God, today help us rest in your unending love, surrender to your loving discipline, and show kindness to everyone, in Jesus' name amen.