Steadfast Love: For All Generations – Sunday February 18, 2024

There are three things I am capable of having an unreasonably heated debate over.


Die hard is a Christmas movie.


The 1995 BBC mini-series version of Pride and Prejudice is and always will be the quintessential Pride and Prejudice.


Colin Firth is the best Mr. Darcy to ever exist for all time.  He is Mr. Darcy.


Even when he is playing a Mr. Darcy inspired character in Bridget Jones’ Diary.


And says to Bridget, I like you very much, just as you are.

He chooses her, he loves her, with all her faults and gifts, with all her mistakes and successes.  He loves her, he chooses her, just as she is.  And that is what God’s love does for us.  God’s love is always, always, choosing us, just as we are.


Our sermon series for lent is about God’s steadfast love.  It is lectionary based, so this series centers on the scripture provided in a three year cycle of scripture used by tons of denominations.  And I call this sermon series Steadfast Love because, as I was reading and discerning, that thread, that theme stood out.  The scripture are all very different in the coming weeks, they come from different parts of the Bible, come from different context, involve different stories, and they all connect in one way or another to God’s steadfast love.  But what does that love mean?  We talk about it all the time.  I say it almost every week at least once.  But what does it mean for God to love us?


Scripture refers to God in different ways to help illustrate that love.  God is holy parent, father, mother.  God is sacred partner, spouse.  But for me this lent, it all comes back to a deeper core idea and feeling.  What is God’s love?  It is God choosing you, always, forever, just as you are.


Consider our passage from Genesis.  It is after the flood, after humanity spiraled into such a toxic state that God wiped out everyone except for Noah and his family, and God commits never ending love to humanity and creation.  “I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth…this is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you an every living creature that is with you, for all future generations.”  Knowing what humanity is capable of, the goodness and the harm, God says, I’m here with you, I’m in this with you, I choose you.  And not just right then but for all generations for all time.  God chooses us.


God chooses us through every prophet sent, guiding us back to healthy relationships and fullness of life.

God chooses us through Christ, through Emmanuel literally God with us.  We encounter that in our scripture today from Mark.  “While Jesus was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him.  And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”  God says those words to Christ and, through Christ, God says those words to us.  You are all my beloved children.  In poured out love, in resurrected love, in opportunity and hope and grace, God tells us, I choose you.  We even encounter that love, still in Mark, with Christ in the wilderness.  Christ encounters temptation, Satan, wild animals, and is cared for in the midst of those difficulties.


What is God’s love?  It is God choosing you.


In our faithfulness and in our faults.

When we are at our best and when we are at our worst.

From the rivers of our baptism to our struggles in the wildness.

When we turn towards God and when we turn away from God.


Hear the good news.  God chooses you.  God wants the best for you, wants a full, abundant life for you, and lent is a season for us to be lifted by God and empowered to live that life.  But no matter what, God’s love is this:  that God chooses you, always and forever, just as you are.

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