Pastor’s Message | February 2020
It has gotten cold outside (at last), and winter is settling for a long, cold nap. It is against this backdrop of a brooding gray sky and the frequent blank canvas of snow that we begin to think about deeper things, about love and devotion, at this time of year often depicted in shining red heart-shaped boxes and stuffed toys in garish shades of pink. These are sweet (literally as well as figuratively), and are not to be despised for what they intend to convey. But what about other ways of letting love and devotion to be known? What about other ways of love that are not the purely romantic kind, but are deep and heartfelt just the same?
How does your love and devotion show itself in your life? To your loved ones it may be a thank you for a kindness received or a meal prepared for you. Or you may demonstrate your devotion by getting up every day to do what is needed or expected of you. Some of the best days may be when you simply appreciate your loved one for who they are, and happily notice the warmth that affection grows within you. At other times you may feel inspired to do something important to express your love. And sometimes it is your love which inspirers your desire to let something go. I hope you have moments when you realize that your life would not be the same without them, and be glad for it. And I hope you have moments when you find that you have come to love what they love, as a way of loving them.
Can you see any of those descriptions of love and devotion speaking of your life of relationship with God? In all of the big and small ways that we love, when we look, we might discover that God is a part of that love, the Source of all love, which He pours out to us at all times, and most poignantly in the flesh and blood of His Son, Jesus. How does the love of God in Jesus shape and change us, and create a new kind of devotion within us? Saint Paul uses some romantic sounding language to describe the effect that life in Christ can have on His beloved disciples, that in loving God, our very lives become a love letter to God: “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2Corinthins 3:3).
Romantic gestures are still appreciated. And literal letters of love and devotion can be written, as we have just read one from St. Paul. You may like to try this as a prayer exercise on a cold wintry day, to write an actual love letter to God. What a beautiful way to focus your thoughts on Him, and to share with the Lord what He means to you. If you need a prompt, here is a sample from an 8 year old girl I found in a book called Dear God: Children’s Letters to God, by David Heller, Ph.D.:
I love you. I just want to let you know ahead of time that I’d like to be there with you in heaven.
That kind of sums it up, doesn’t it?