CLERGY CORNER: Our Lord’s Beautiful World

Posted on 29 June 2017 by LeslieM

Yes … the world our Lord gave us is beautiful in so many respects!

John Denver wasn’t the only one to see beauty in a rocky mountain high. We see it every day in the beautiful sunrises over our sandy Florida beaches. The Greek sculptor of the Venus de Milo wasn’t the only one to see beauty in the human form. We see it every day in the faces of those we meet. The pilgrims, on that first Thanksgiving Day, weren’t the only ones to be blessed by our Lord’s bounty. We are likewise blessed by the abundance spread before us at produce counters and farmers’ markets. We live in a beautiful, wonderful and abundant world created by our Lord. But it’s not always the paradise we would like it to be; so often, cruelty and anger hold sway. What is missing?

Saint John gives us a one word answer in his exquisitely crafted First Epistle, “God is love, and he that does not love, does not know God.” This simple statement is not a teaching about what love is, as much as an invitation to consider the effect of God’s love on our lives.

The first effect is to give us the assurance that we live in the hands of a benevolent God. If God is love, then it follows that He creates in love, rules in love and judges in love. His love is ever flowing in our lives, and, during those times when it seems He has turned his face from us, the reality is we have likely forsaken our trust in Him. Our assurance of God’s love, in good and bad times, is best realized directionally and positionally, that is, turning toward God on bended knees.

A second effect of God’s love is to make Him known to us. Theologians are quick to contend that knowing God is beyond the ability of the human mind; maybe so, but not beyond the potential of the human heart. God gave us hearts to power our bodies, but He also encoded our hearts to get and give love. Anyone who has ever been truly loved by another person, or anyone who has ever been willing to give their all for their beloved, has been given some hint of God’s love for us. We come closest to knowing God when we open our hearts and share our love with those with whom we share His Body. We can’t think our way to God with our minds; we can only approach Him with our hearts.

And, finally, a most important effect of God’s love, is that it helps dispel the shadow of fear that cruelty and anger casts over our beautiful world and over our individual lives. Dealing with our fears can be tricky because we can’t always eliminate their causes. One way God’s love helps us deal with them is by telling us over and over again that He will not let us “go it alone.” Holy Scripture, from beginning to end, teaches this truth about God’s love. The Old Testament tells us, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee” [Psalm 55:22]. The New Testament continues and expands on this teaching, “The God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our tribulation, so we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble” [1 Corinthians 1:3-4]. God created us, freed us from sin and teaches us what we need to know to spend eternity with Him … and He does it all with one word, love.

Johann Arndt, a man much smarter than me, once said, “At the Last Judgement, God will not ask us what we know, but rather how we have loved.” — Yes!

Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, Rector is from the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, 1416 SE 2 Terr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-695-0336. Wednesday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m., Sunday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m.

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