The Love of God
Larry McGuire, president of seventy
(Adapted from Exploring Community of Christ Basic Beliefs: A Commentary edited by Anthony J. Chvala-Smith, pp. 27-28. A Kindle version is available at www.HeraldHouse.org.)
We do not live to ourselves and we do not die to ourselves. -Romans 14:7
She often came into the activities and services late, wrestling with her two small children. People offered to help her with the children, but the kids were not very willing to be far from their mother. She looked exhausted most of the time but did her best to be engaged with the classes and worship.
During one of the worship services, we were invited to share in groups about a hymn text that we felt reflected our journey with God. She was part of my group and listened to what was being shared about the hymn I selected, “The Love of God” Community of Christ Sings 210. The hymn reflects what I want to believe about God; however, my experience was often different. My experience has been more of a disruptive and unsettling God, a God that I want to keep contained in a box that I can control. But God continues to push beyond the confines of my box. I noticed tears began to roll down her face and she simply nodded her head in agreement. As she shared her hymn, she asked the question: “How do I know I can trust what God is nudging me to do?”
After the worship, I sat and listened to her story of her journey of faith and how she was wrestling with decisions to leave her community of faith and join Community of Christ. Her question kept coming to my mind as she shared her journey: “How do I know I can trust what God is nudging me to do?” As I listened, I remembered the compass mounted on the dash of my grandfather’s car. He always trusted the compass was pointing him in the correct direction even as he made turns and changes in direction.
I offered my prayerful support for her journey and bore my testimony that there were times I didn’t trust my compass but it wasn’t because God wasn’t present. I shared that I needed to keep asking, “Am I pointing myself in what I sense through the Spirit to be the right direction? Am I continually orienting myself toward God?” Those are compass questions grounded in my belief that God is always present even when I wasn’t trusting the compass.
As we closed our conversation, she shared her appreciation for the opportunity to ask questions and explore what it means to follow God even when you aren’t sure where you are being led. She closed by saying, “I know what I’m being asked to do so I will trust where I’m being led.” Two days later sent me a text saying she had decided to join Community of Christ.
“We long for freedom where our truest being is given hope and courage to unfold. We seek in freedom space and scope for dreaming and look for ground where trees and plants can grow” (Fred Kaan, “The Love of God,” \xc2\xa9 1974 Hope Publishing Company, CCS 210). God’s presence was made real in the simple phrases of a hymn and the affirmation that you can trust the compass of God’s love even when you do not know where it will lead.
“Practice Resurrection” (Wendell Berry).
During this Easter season, we invite you daily into a breath prayer focused on resurrection. With each exhale, respond in a word or phrase to the question, “What is dying?” (fear, anger, assumptions, etc.) With each inhale, notice a response in a word or phrase to the question “What is rising?” (love, courage, trust, etc.) You may choose to use the same word or phrase throughout this season, or let each day bring its own unique response to this sacred pattern of dying and rising that is central to our faith.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.