This afternoon I had the pleasure of gathering in Christian Community at the Princeton University for the Hour of Power, a weekly service of prayer, praise and proclamation for faculty and staff. As the guest preacher, I was immensely blessed by the entire service, but especially the power of the testimonies of the gathered community. They shared their hearts and souls in praise reports and prayer requests. It bore witness to the truth that the church is not a building, but any place where two ore more are gathered in Jesus' name.
And for as powerful as the testimonies were, what resounds in my soul is a turn of phrase--God's lavish love--printed as part of the liturgy in the Call to Worship and used in prayer and benediction by the Rev. Dr. Theresa Thames, Associate Dean of Religious Life and Chapel at Princeton.
God's lavish love.
This image brings to mind luxury. I've always known God's love to be ever present, but rich and luxurious? But of course God's love is just that. It is freely given and never ending. It is grand and costly. That which is lavish is abundant, plenteous, extravagant, and generous. Yes and Amen. God's love for us is so great that God in Christ dwelled among us in human flesh and gave His life so that you and I could experience abundant life now and eternal life in God's presence.
God's lavish love.
There was something else about it that grabbed hold of me. I couldn't put my finger on it until I dug a little deeper into the word. The English word lavish has its origins in a Middle English word with French derivation meaning "deluge of rain." In other words, God's love is not sprinkled on us. We are literally washed over by the love of God. This is good news. Not only are we never separated from God's love in Christ, but every fiber of our being is saturated by God's love.Even in parched seasons, knowing that God's love is raining/reigning down on me brings me delight and hope.
Whether you are in a time of spiritual drought or deluge of rain, on this Word Up Wednesday my prayer for you, dear readers, is adapted from the Hour of Power Call to Worship: May you open your heart, your spirit, your soul to the lavish love of God. Amen.