You Are Beloved

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
          —"Late Fragment" by Raymond Carver

          The Christian season of Lent begins this year on March 1, and will continue until Easter Sunday, on April 16.  Many people regard Lent as a time of wilderness and denial—a time of fasting and withholding and uncertainty—possibly even a time of fear and suspicion and anger and violence.  And certainly, all of these experiences and emotions find their way into the Lenten season.  But the true message of Lent—and the message we will explicitly emphasize this year—is the message of Belovedness. 
          There is more than enough hurt and hostility in our world.  And even so, each of us—each one a child of God—is Beloved.  We might find ourselves bewildered and confused by the lies and distrust being sown into the fabric of our society these days.  And even so, each of us—each one a child of God—is Beloved.  During the Sundays of Lent, we will hear biblical stories of people who struggled to understand and come to terms with the blessings God offers each one of us and our world.  And even so, each of us—and each of them—each one a child of God—is Beloved. 
          This Lent will be an invitation for each of us to practice our awareness that we are deeply Beloved—regardless of our individual struggles, doubts, fears, and faults.  Whether this awareness comes easily or whether it feels difficult to comprehend, the truth at the core of our faith forever reminds us that God loves us completely.  And no matter what struggles and obstacles we face, that love empowers us and sends us out.
          I look forward to beginning this new season with you—and reminding you again and again that you are Beloved!

See you in church,