by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
The reading for Sunday, January 31, 2015:
2 Samuel7: 1-14a
It's interesting to read this passage just a few Sundays after reading about the baptism of Jesus. We see two men early in their careers. We see God proclaiming God's pleasure in the two men. Jesus has yet to do anything impressive. David, on the other hand, has done quite a bit.
We might think about David's trajectory and feel despair about our own. David has been plucked from the obscurity of being a shepherd and the youngest. He has made his way in King Saul's palace. As God turned away from Saul, it became clear that God favored David. Chaos ensues, and David emerges to win the throne. Along the way, he defeats many enemies and wins many battles.
So, at this stage, it's no wonder that God makes this statement of support of David. But look again at this speech of God's. God knows that David is human--and if we remember the trajectory of the whole story, we know it too. David will make massive mistakes, just as we will. But God declares that even though there may be punishment for those mistakes, as the world will mete out punishment, God's love will remain.
God makes the same promise to us. God doesn't judge us by the rules of the world. God loves us regardless.
In these days of New Years resolutions going off the rails for many of us, that's a great reminder. God chose you. God delights in you. God loves you.
You may find this hard to believe. You may be able to believe that God loves people like King David or Mother Theresa or Archbishop Tutu, or any number of people more worthy than you. The good news is that God loves you the same way. God sees you in the same way.
No matter how much you improve yourself, God will still love you. No matter how many times you lose sight of your goals and move further away from the best self that you could be, God will still love you. Of course God sees your full potential and probably hopes that you'll move in that direction. But even if you don't, God will love you anyway. No matter how miserably you've failed, God will always welcome you.
If we truly believed that God loves us the way God loves King David, would we be empowered to live our lives differently? What would that look like?