Welcome, you are the Beloved.
We don’t spent a ton of time hammering people over the head with information at Hope Street. However, we do want truth to sink deep into people’s souls so they can be set free, renewed and transformed.
The truth of our belovedness is quite simply unfathomable. The idea that a perfect God could love imperfect people, perfectly is hard to grasp. We listen to story after story of “stuff” our members regret. Things that have happened to them or by them. Often love seems to be out of the question. The desire is there, but each unsure of how to give it or receive it.
A few years ago at our Family Reunion you heard Judy’s story. How Judy was stuck in addiction, abusive relationships and ultimately responsible for the death of her daughter. If you were there you also heard about the moment she realized she was forgiven. That Grace was sufficient for her mistakes too. From that moment we have watched Judy accept her status as Beloved daughter of the King. She has had setbacks and obstacles - the most recent being hit (once again) by a car on Christmas Day just steps from our building as she crossed the street with one of our other members, Christine.
It is easy for Judy to fall back into “maybe I deserve this” but the truth is our God doesn’t work like that. He draws near, He pursues, He comforts, He forgives and most of all He reminds us of our status: Beloved. Our beings depend on our ability to know we are chosen and loved. Period. That may sound too mushy for you, probably because we throw the word “Love” around - but hear Him - YOU are seen, chosen and loved. Live in that truth.
Father, you go to great lengths to remind us just how very much you love us. That love doesn’t leave us with butterflies but with a deep sense of purpose, value and belonging. When we mess up help us to generously receive your grace. When we experience others who have messed up, help us to generously acknowledge the grace you pour out on them too. The beauty of you Lord is that no person is any less chosen or loved by you, you are able to perfectly choose and love each of us, even in our uniqueness. Please remind us of that today. Please remind Judy, and the other members in our community. Lord, help us to start with Beloved - from there everything else just falls into place.
"To be chosen as the Beloved of God is something radically different. Instead of excluding others , it includes others. Instead of rejecting others as less valuable, it accepts others in their own uniqueness. It is not a competitive, but a compassionate choice."
Henri J.M. Nouwen; Life of the Beloved