Who You Are, Really

hands across the sand
Photo credit: Mel Green

1 John 3:1-3

Consider what love God has given us that we are children of God. We really are! The reason people don’t know it is that they don’t have any idea what God is like. Dearest friends, we are God’s children now. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that whatever happens, we are like God, and sooner or later we’ll all see it. Live completely in that hope. God does!

Today among many Christian traditions is All Saints. It’s the day when churches remember those who inspired them.

But it’s also a day to remember that now it’s our turn to be inspiring. We don’t have to be famous. We don’t even need to have official church status. All we need is to live into the gifts we’ve been given to change the world for the better. That, after all, is what Jesus did.

Jesus understood himself to be the child of God, and his acceptance of that as his self-understanding drove everything he did. Church theology has long affirmed that Jesus is uniquely the Son of God. But it simply doesn’t square with the New Testament. John says we are all children of God. Really. Now.

Believe it. Live it.

The Universe Is Waiting for You

Philippians 2:13-15

God’s desire for good finds expression in your longings and in your work. So don’t complain and argue about things. Then, when you willingly do what’s right, in comparison with the usual corruption people see, it will be as clear as a starry night that you are children of God.

Admittedly, we’re in the realm of the metaphysical. Still, you don’t have to believe in God to get the point of comparison. When someone does something that’s good and right, it stands out. Clearly. A virtuoso performance elicits applause, and you don’t have to be a virtuoso yourself to appreciate it. Nor do you have to agree with Paul’s understanding of God to recognize that doing something to improve a situation trumps standing around complaining and arguing about it. Every time.

Now, added to this, it’s worth pondering that God (or as Douglas Adams might say, “Life, the Universe, and Everything”) –  that what’s good about anything – finds its expression in your longing and working for it. And, if you are an instance of the goodness of the universe, isn’t that all the more reason to take your longings for good (for justice, for peace, for joy, for health, for fulfillment) seriously enough to work at them?

Or, to put it another way, every instance of someone doing something to make the world a better place is an instance of divine incarnation, and inasmuch as you are a divine incarnation, you are a child of God. So, what are you waiting for? Do the work. Rise above the ordinary, be a star, and we will applaud. You are a child of God, and the universe is waiting.