Fully Possessed by the Loving Gaze of God

The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya

Fully Possessed by the Loving Gaze of God

Beloved in Christ,

One of the poems I come back to over and over again is Gift by Czeslow Milosz. The poet is describing an experience of utter joy and freedom in an ordinary moment. There is one line, in particular, that I think about all the time: “To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.” One of the keys to internal freedom and joy is the ability to look back on all that I have been without cringing in shame or swelling with pride, but seeing the thread of grace that connects it all in love. My spiritual work is to learn to see as God sees, holding all of my gifts, my failures, my silliness, and my deep regrets in a loving gaze that draws me ever deeper into the healing heart of God. 

Today is Juneteenth, when we engage the holy work of remembering an important moment in our shared past as Americans. It’s a day when we mark the end of the abomination of racial slavery. It’s a day when we celebrate the gift of liberation. It’s a day when we are invited to see the ways in which structural and systemic racial oppression has continued to be woven into the fabric of our common life and resounds to this very day. It’s a day when we recommit to being agents of the liberating love of Jesus as best as our broken and sinful selves can be. 

For followers of Jesus, remembering, repenting, and recommitting does not allow us to avert our gaze in shame, or to merely look back in embarrassment. As followers of Jesus, we are called to face the full legacy of human cruelty and horrendous evil fully and with eyes wide open, but without fear. We are called to look back on the full legacy of who we as human beings have been in the loving gaze of God, not erasing the past, but crying out to God that we, with Jesus, might be part of redeeming all we have been with the power of love. 

“For freedom Christ has set us free,” Paul tells us in Galatians. We can only find the freedom we all so deeply long for, we can only be faithful agents of liberation in the world, when we allow ourselves to be fully possessed by the loving gaze of God, which alone can bring true justice, which alone can build a more loving future, and which alone can bring about the healing of the nations. 

Grace and Peace,

The Right Reverend Craig Loya