Preparing for Worship – Angela Brindle.
I am so grateful for the Bible verses that I memorized when I was in elementary school. They stick with me better than any Scripture I’ve tried to memorize since. One of these passages was Romans 8:38–39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV)
I remember thinking that the author was writing as if in conversation with the reader:
Scripture: Nothing comes between you and God’s love.
Reader: Not even death?
Scripture: Not death, and not life either.
Reader: What about what’s happening right now?
Scripture: Nothing happening right now, and nothing in your future either.
And just to be clear, Paul writes that “nothing else in all creation” can separate us from God’s love. Trials come, and hopefully trials go. But whether you pause to wonder about it or not, God’s love is the air you breathe every day. You can bask in it, or ignore it, but it’s still the water we’re swimming in.
Our first hymn today is “How Wide the Love of Christ,” with some words taken from another passage about God’s love from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Christ’s love is wide, long, high and deep, and this song has a verse for each dimension.
Wide — no one is left out, even if you imagine you’re on the edges.
Long — God’s love does not wear out over time. He loves you for the duration.
High — God’s love meets you on the mountaintop (or maybe on your high horse?).
Deep — at whatever depth you are, the One who loves you walks with you there.
As you prepare your heart for worship, pause to acknowledge Christ’s love for you. Even before you quiet your mind, you are beloved. If you struggle to focus, no rush, you are beloved. You have not earned it, and you cannot lose it. As you are, where you are, worship your Creator knowing you are beloved. And lean into it.