Today is Good Friday.
It’s the day that the Bible talks about Jesus’s death, before his resurrection. For many Christians, this is the most somber day of the year – a testament to the amount God loves us, to sacrifice his son for us.
Despite being brought up believing in God, I’ve struggled a lot with the Jesus part. Was he a real person? (I’ve come to believe he was a real historical person). Can I really believe in something as far-fetched as a virgin birth, and then, a resurrection?
And perhaps even more fundamentally, do I believe in a God that loves me so radically?
I’ve been reading this book that is spinning me in circles of delight this week – “Life of the Beloved” by Henri Nouwen. He reminds me that God has these words for us, ultimately and most importantly:
You are my Beloved.
It’s hard to hear this voice, especially above the negative voices inside our own head. Writes Nouwen, “I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection…Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us ‘Beloved’. Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.”
Sha-zam! I actually tried this during this week. Meeting with clients I reminded myself that I have nothing to prove – I’m already the beloved! It definitely took off any pressure I had on myself to perform, or as Nouwen says “prove that I am worth something.”
Walk in the world as one Beloved.
This takes practice. And it also takes people and places to help us. This is one of the reasons I love going to church – not because I am perfect, or because I believe with certainty – but because there, I am reminded that I am beloved by a great God, just as I am – imperfect, filled with doubt, and trying to move closer to Spirit.
We need help to remember that we are uniquely Beloved.
If you’re feeling the tug this week – step into a synagogue or a church or a temple and celebrate the radical love of God. No prerequisites or faith required. And if you’re in San Francisco, check our Cornerstone’s unique creative Easter drama – it is fantastic.