Dear Urban Abbey members and friends:
When I read Steve Garnaas-Holmes mediation below, it literally brought tears to my eyes. I don’t fancy myself as particularly emotional, but the words and picture of our God that Steve crafted were overpowering. The reminder that God loves us SO MUCH that we are not judged, but accepted as we are [warts and all]…and loved is very powerful.
The thought that Good Friday was our Judgment Day is one that I had not considered before. I am sinful, but I am God’s…in fact God sent God’s Son to suffer horribly and assure me that I am loved…for always. God’s judgment is to be merciful and all-loving to us. Through that never ending love, God continues to call each of us into a deeper relationship with God. When we fall or fail to live up to that love, God invites us to not give up, but, with the reassurance of God’s love, to pick ourselves up and continue to work at being the person God is calling each of us to be.
My task is to never forget that love, to never give up on God…God certainly will never give up on me (or you)!
Grace and Peace to you.
You've heard about the nut that's predicting Judgment Day this Saturday. (He seems pretty smug that he's going to Pass.) Well, he's right. He's delusional and his biblical scholarship is whacked. “About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mt. 24.36). But he's right. This Saturday, May 21, is Judgment Day.
In fact every day is. God's judgment is not the Finals in which God eventually reveals the Judge's Scores that have been kept secret up until then. God's judgment is simply God's truth about us. That truth includes who we really are, and the nature of what we've done. It isn't some worldly grading of good versus bad culminating in a thumbs-up-or-down, heaven-or-hell Elimination Round. Because God's truth about us is not separate from God's love for us, we are not separate from God. So God's judgment is that we are beloved, forgiven and precious. Screwed up, to be sure, but God's anyway, and not just begrudgingly. God doesn’t just tolerate us. God actually loves us. And God's love for us outweighs every other characteristic about us, including our sinfulness.
Technically, Judgment day isn't this Saturday; it was Good Friday. That was the day God issued God's Judgment: You are sinful, and saved. Case dismissed. So we don't have to wait until Some Day to stand before God: we live before God every moment, and every moment God reveals the truth about us: “Oh, you are sinful, all right. You are worse than you think. But you are mine, and I love you.”
Jesus said, “I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” (Jn. 12.47). He said, “This is judgment, that light has come into the world” (Jn. 3.19). And he also said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever” (Jn. 14.16). He talks about this “Advocate” in John 14, 15 and 16. The word in Greek, paraklete, means a defense attorney. God is not our judge; God is our defense attorney! It is the world that judges, that pretends to be able to separate out our good from our bad, and add it all up to one final Score. But the Spirit is our defense attorney, our advocate, the one who knows who we really are. God knows the various unseen forces that twist and distort us so that we are so susceptible to evil, so that we do evil when we think we're doing good, so that we can't see. And God sees the selfishness even in our piety. But God does not judge that by sorting it all out and labeling it. God judges us by subjecting us to mercy, loving us, and opening to us the possibility of being re-created.
Yep, Saturday is Judgment Day. But I'm not worried: so is Sunday.
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