God's Irrational Love
Beloved in Christ,
In the gospel lesson appointed for this coming Sunday (Luke 15:1-10), the religious authorities are grumbling about the kind of company Jesus is keeping. "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them." Jesus responds by telling two parables: one about a shepherd who leaves ninety-nine vulnerable sheep to find the one who is lost, and one about a woman who all but tears her home apart to find one of her ten silver coins.
As with all of scripture, there's a lot going on here. But at least one of the things going on is that Jesus is reminding us of the utterly irrational nature of God's mercy and love. It is indiscriminate. It's absurd. The economics don't work. And yet, it is precisely God's crazy, illogical approach to things like mercy and love that save the whole world. It's not enough to say that God heals the world with love, but rather God aims to heal the world with a love so wanton and extravagant that it makes very little sense at all. That's the kind of love that saves. That's the kind of love that makes a difference.
It leaves a question hanging out there for all of us: when others look at how we live and how we love, does it seem crazy? Are we showing up in our lives, in our neighborhoods, and with each other with a love that is as reckless and indiscriminate as Jesus describes God's to be?
As we begin to regather after the summer, launching new program years and getting fully back into the swing of things, are our activities, our plans, our programs, and our dreams, wild enough for Jesus? Below you'll find so many ways that we are connecting with one another more deeply across the diocese: fall mission area gatherings, diocesan convention, faith communities working together in all kinds of ways, and a new, monthly gathering to which the whole diocese is invited, but which will be especially helpful for lay leaders. I hope you'll find ways to connect beyond your own context this fall, that we might be more deeply rooted in Jesus together, and that we might more fully reflect God's irrational economy of grace to a world that in so many ways languishes in the fully logical grip of death, fear, and injustice.
Grace and peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya