Sadly, we have done a good job using religion in general and Christianity in particular to give people the idea that God is mad at them. Over the years, I have met person after person (including professing Christians) who feel that God is fed up with them—on the verge of saying, “I’ve had it with you!” and walking away. If they stick with religion at all, they practice it as a never-ending, performance-oriented attempt to show God they are spiritual and worthy of love. Truth be told, I have felt that way myself sometimes.
The problem is that this is not what the biblical story says. Rather than saying God is mad at us, the Bible says God is madly in love with us. It says that God delights in us. Every reading this week provides us with some aspect of God’s delight.
Today’s passage from Proverbs tells us that God has delighted in us from the beginning. Wisdom says, “I was having fun, smiling before [the Lord] all the time, frolicking with his inhabited earth and delighting in the human race” (ceb). We all exist in the context of smiling and frolicking. God’s delight in us is fun and eternal.
In theological language, we call this “original righteousness.” It is the story recorded in Genesis 1–2, before original sin in Genesis 3 altered the picture. Original righteousness is the starting point for God’s understanding of us. Along with everything else God made, we are good. We are made in the image of God. From the beginning until now, we put a smile on God’s face and set God’s feet to dancing!
Meditation: Imagine walking into the holy Presence and seeing God smile at you. How does that make you feel?
In our society we often privilege intellect and expertise. However, in Proverbs we read that God values wisdom. Wisdom has been present since the beginning, and some early theologians understand this Wisdom to be none other than the Son of God. Part of wisdom is understanding our place in the universe. The psalmist marvels at the vast display of God’s power in the heavens yet also recognizes that humans are a manifestation of God’s glory. The New Testament readings invoke the Trinity as we approach Trinity Sunday. Paul says that we have peace with God through Christ, and we are given the Holy Spirit. In John, Jesus Christ has received everything from the Father, and the Spirit will guide his followers into all truth.
Read Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31. When have you heard God calling out to you?
Read Psalm 8. The author reminds us that our shortcomings are not because we are only human, but because we fall short of our humanity. How do you strive to be more human—a little lower than God?
Read Romans 5:1-5. How do you allow God’s peace to calm you when you feel your life swirling around you?
Read John 16:12-15. To which person of the Trinity do you feel “closest”? How can you develop your relationship with the other two persons?
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