Season of Astonishment-Week 3 // We Are Loved // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture:  Luke 15:1-24

Dear Church,

So far in our Season of Astonishment, we’ve marveled at two glory-filled truths:

We are Chosen & We are Changed.

But on their own, these might be astonishing and terrifying truths.

Recently, I was watching a sci-fi show where the evil supervillain could pick and switch any unsuspecting person, without warning, from a resister or bystander into a violent destructive ally. It’s only good news if we know the nature of the God choosing and changing us.

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus tells three stories about the character of God: a shepherd recklessly rescues a wandering sheep, a woman relentlessly searches for a lost coin and a Father who lets his youngest son go and then watches and waits for the moment he exuberantly welcomes him back home.

God has chosen us and God is changing us because God. Loves. Us. Right now. As we are. God is not waiting to love us until we become who we ‘ought’ to be.  We rush past the truth of God’s love too quickly in our quest for power, purpose and understanding. God IS Love. That’s an astonishing revelation. God is not vengeful. God is not destruction. God is not MAD at you. God is LOVE. God loves us.  AND Jesus’ parables and presence show us, God’s love is so extraordinary–extra-ordinary–so far beyond what we name and claim as love–that we barely recognize it.

God’s love seeks what is lost because sheep, coins and children have intrinsic non-negotiable worth. God’s love is limitless and non-transactional. It is not a resource to be hoarded or a reward to be earned; it is necessity. And, most improbably and offensive to us, God’s love refuses to conquer or compel us ‘for our own good.’ God’s love is not a prison. The younger son is free to walk away, but he does not have the power to stop the Father’s longing for his return. The Father waits as the shepherd searches and the woman seeks, expectantly.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing of all is not how hard it is for us to trust God’s love, but how recklessly easy it seems to be for God’s love to trust us to come home.  

I hope you will join me as we practice astonishment and wonder at God’s love for us.


Pastor Kate

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