I think about that important little tidbit of wisdom as I ponder those things in my life that I consider most foundational: my belief in a loving God; my belief in Jesus and his Church; my belief that 90s Canadian rock was the pinnacle of modern music. (I have to skip a few steps; otherwise we’d be here all day.)
I think that foundational belief in a loving God can easily be taken for granted by those of us who have heard it our whole lives. This concern has been present to my mind as I try to enter more intentionally into Lent this year – the desert and temptation experience included. If the devil tempted me in the same way he tempted Jesus, would I have the resolve to say no, trusting that greater things await with the loving God who created me? I mean, I’ve heard “God loves you!” so many times in so many homilies that it should be an obvious point, but is it actually an idea that could be challenged or bent, given the right offer?
My theory: yes, it could be bent, if the love of God was something I’d never experienced, processed, or reflected upon. Sure, “process” isn’t the prettiest spiritual or romantic word, but for me it comes back to that piece of wisdom we opened with: God loves us with everything He has, but that may not look or feel how we’d expect. Sometimes we have to be attentive to it, and realize what has been right in front of us all along.
For example, I notice that we exist when we could just as well…not; that we can share in God’s creative power; that we do crazy, utterly selfless things for others; and that mercy..is.
I notice that people love when loving is difficult.
We seem to love and forgive beyond all reason and self-benefit. It’s not always what we might expect love to look like, but there it is nonetheless: God’s own measure of love.
Quips about 90s alt-rock aside, I do also think that good music can be the love of God transmitted: it inspires us, motivates us, and sometimes simply helps us get through another day. Do I expect to be loved by my favourite Sloan or Tragically Hip track coming up on my iPod, just at the right moment? Probably not. Do I feel like God is giving me a big hug when it happens?