My granddaughter has a large word book that includes pictures of everyday items to match each word. There are colorful pages of animals, foods, vehicles, toys, and other categories. In recent weeks, she and I have enjoyed finding the real items to match the words and pictures. Her face lights up with understanding when she discovers that THIS item is what the word and picture actually mean!
For example, when she sees the picture of glasses in the book, she now looks up at me and touches my glasses. The word picture of an ice cream cone came alive when she had her first delicious spoonful of the frosty sweet treat. We were excited last week to see a frog hopping in the front yard and an excavator digging at the end of the street.
So I was thrilled to find a feather on my morning walk! I have washed it and will share it with her later today. This is one item from her book that she hasn’t yet seen or touched in reality.
Today the feather speaks to me about the real and actual loving presence of God. God comes to us in a variety of ways- interestingly called the “Word of God”- each of them serving as a unique and revealing dimension of God’s infinite and ever-present love.
One Word of God is the Bible, a collection of word stories about God’s love for us- God creating life with all its goodness, keeping promises throughout history, calling imperfect people to service, and becoming incarnate with us through Jesus. Another Word of God is creation itself, revealing God’s love through the splendor and majesty of this life we have been given. The Word of God made flesh is Jesus (John 1:14), God-with-us. His life of teaching, forgiving, healing, feeding, dying, and rising, gives us a deeper awareness of how much God loves us, of what God’s love really means beyond the Old Testament stories.
And now we are called to be the Word of God, as Christ in this world, with his Spirit to guide and help us. People will learn about God’s love by reading words in the Bible, they will understand more about God’s love through the life of Jesus, but they will experience God’s love when Jesus’s Spirit works in and through us. With the Spirit, we have this incredible opportunity to be the visible, tangible, active, real presence of God, here and now.
May we live our lives with such loving-kindness that we foster someone’s “ah-ha!” moment in which they joyfully realize, “So THIS is the love of God!”
How DO we live as examples of the visible, tangible love of God as shown through Jesus? Years ago the teen choir at Olivet Lutheran Church in Sylvania sang a beautiful song that I will treasure forever. The lyrics are a good reminder for us today.
By This They Will Know *
If we only love the lovely
and those we call our own,
or if we give expecting something in return…
If our mercy has a limit,
if our reach has an end,
if our favor must always be earned~
What makes us different in the worlds’ eyes?
Where is the proof that we belong to Christ?
By this they will know who Jesus is,
by this they will know that we are his:
if we give of ourselves as he gave himself for us.
By this they will know him…
They’ll know Jesus by our love.
Love is never selfish,
it never wants its way
and it never can remember debts unpaid.
It is full of compassion
this is the love that we claim.
That makes us different in the world’s eyes
There is the proof that we belong to Christ.
By this they will know who Jesus is…
They’ll know Jesus by our love.
Photo by Karen 🙂
*Lyrics and music by Mark and Nan Allen/Arr. Dennis Allen/Pilot Point Music