Everything you wanted to know about Christianity
at the Anglican Parish of the Otways
Please join me each week for our reflections
of sermons conducted during our church service.
Plus, occasional splashes of humour and epiphanies!
With much Love and Blessings
Rev. Jenny Brandon
The greatest need each one of us has is for real,unconditional love.
This was most evident to me when working as a school Chaplain.
There is nothing sadder than a child who thinks they are unlovable, who thinks that there is nothing good inside them,
My greatest challenge was to turn their thinking around because it was when we did that their behaviour improved and they began to realise they were worth something.
Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
I don’t think our youngsters are the only ones who find it hard to truly believe they are worthy of unconditional love. When we read Jesus saying things such as “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15) we think of lists. Love God. Do not return evil for evil, do not judge others, do not condemn your neighbour, Love your enemies, give generously, forgive others, I could go on, and on and on.
But this is not what Jesus is on about. he was not talking about a specific set of rules but rather following his example, his way of life, which does include listening to his words and making an effort to live by them. But it is more than that. It includes seeing ourselves as God sees us. And Jesus is our example in this also
Jesus lived an obedient life. He loved the Father and this showed in the way he went about fulfilling the will of the Father, even to the point of death. What empowered him to live like this? He Knew the Father loved him unconditionally.
And the same is true for us. God does not love us because we are good, but because HE is good, our very existence is a sign of God’s love, and our redemption is proof that that love is unconditional.
God doesn’t see us as a reflection of our deeds, he sees us as his beloved children, he sees us as the redeemed people he has called to be his. In God’s eyes we are very good, and this unconditional love is the Good News. Don’t believe me? Read some of these bible verses. These are the tip of the iceberg!
John 1:12; 15:16; Romans 5:8; 8:16; 8:37; 2 2 Corinthians 5:17 Ephesians 4:24; 1Thessalonians 5:5; Philippians 2:15; 1Peter 2:9.
So what does this all mean for us in practice? Well firstly, if you feel undeserving of God’s love, stop right now. You are deserving of God’s love because he says you are. No arguments. Once we begin to understand the depth of this unconditional love God has for us we will naturally respond by loving him in return, following Jesus example set down for us in both his words and his actions.
Love naturally affects our actions. If we truly love something we will treasure and nurture it. So loving God will naturally lead to willing obedience.
God loves you, unconditionally, make no mistake about it.
Can you feel it in your heart? It is like a flame that warms your soul, energises your spirit and provides passion for your life.
Love is our connection to God and to each other.
Love is the climate in which we as Christians live.
love one another,
just as we are loved by God!
Pretty well sums up everything.
About the author
Rev. Jenny is an ordained Priest of the Anglican Diocese delivering services at Anglican Parish of the Otway churches every week.
With great depth of knowledge and a spiritual practice that shows she walks her talk and has taken her to the far reaches of N.T. Australia working with indigenous youth and elders.