What stands out to me in this reading is the Psalmist’s words “I love you, my Lord, my rock”.
I remember when such words first came alive to me I was a part of a Christian club at Terry Sanford High School. The student who organized it, a guy named “Shane”, had begun to do “praise” events with the group where folks sang simple praise songs.
This song was played —
I had grown up in church, but had never really thought of the idea of loving God. I loved my parents, my brothers and sisters, and sure hoped to fall in love some day.
But I had grown up in a harsh, legalistic brand of religion that emphasized God as King, high and exalted demanding obedience and faithfulness. So I certainly thought about honoring God. Here is an example of one of the common hymns, jazzed up a little bit, by a person from the tradition I grew up in —
God is lifted up, hard to reach. One you serve, obey. Love? Not so much.
But I had encountered in moments of prayer already a feeling of being loved, accepted, and embraced in ways I hadn’t known. What I knew as God was more loving, more close, than what my religious upbringing had provided to me.
And among the Christian club members in that group I started to see this lived out as a loving grace, a passion for God, I hadn’t seen before. I saw love lived out in its own bumbling adolescent way among them. I began to see that was what I had experienced in my private moments of prayer – a love breaking through beyond the crushing pain of the legalism I’d grown up within.
Joining in the words “I love you, Lord” something opened up in me. I could feel my heart open up, because I saw all the ways God was present to me in my life which showed God not to be the distant Judge I had grown up hearing of but instant a close companion, a loving friend, who was always for me and for all of us. I began to see glimmers of grace throughout my life and knew I was loved, loved with a love that wouldn’t abandon me. I felt deep abiding peace and grace and begin to sing with gusto knowing I did love God, a love motivated by the love God had always had for me but I could not see because of having been taught to mainly see God as distant, one I related to out of duty.
In many ways it is this experience of feeling loved by God, having a deep abiding love break through, which the Psalmist describes. Their experience of being loved also opens them up, freeing them to love God and live fully in their world
What are you experiences of love breaking through? Of those moments you came to know you were loved, loved in a way that freed you to love and to live more fully in this world?