For God So Loved the World

The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya

For God So Loved the World

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
—John 3:16

Beloved in Christ,

The gospel lesson for this Sunday contains what is perhaps the most widely known verse in the Bible. Wide exposure often leads to narrow understanding, and I think our familiarity with this verse causes us to miss some of its depth and richness.

In John’s gospel, believing is less understanding something with our minds, and more a relationship we commit ourselves to. Believing in Jesus means committing our hearts and lives to an ongoing relationship. It means showing up regularly to spend time with Jesus in scripture, prayer, and sacrament. It means tending to what the way of Jesus asks of us in our lives, attending to the movement of the Spirit. It involves struggle, doubt, building trust, delighting in Jesus and allowing Jesus to delight in you. 

And the eternal life promised for those who believe isn’t a mere escape from the physical world to some ethereal heaven after we die, it’s about experiencing life in the fullness of God’s love right now. For those committed to Jesus, the eternal kind of life, joining God’s project to heal the world with love, starts now. 

The faith we share cannot be reduced to punching a ticket to heaven when we die. It’s about joining God in the work that has already begun of healing the world with love, of engaging the work of justice for the oppressed, of freedom for the captives, of sight, joy, love, and hope. For God so loved the world, for God so loved you, for God so loved those cast down, that he gave his son to join us to the overwhelming tide of perfect, healing love. 

Grace and Peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya