Advent 4 – Remembering Love – Why Jesus?

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
Ephesians 2:4-5

This coming Sunday in Worship, when we light the fourth candle for the fourth week in Advent, we light the candle of love. I thought about what I would write for this week’s blog, and realized that something I wrote nearly three years ago best fit for my feelings this week. This was an old blog post I wrote while I was in seminary, in moments when I am frustrated or struggling, feeling down, unloveable, or hurting, I go back through my files and read this reminder of God’s love – and my own embarrassments.

Why Jesus? – My Embarrassing Moment for the Day by Megan filer on February 18, 2014

I had one of those moments today that I’m hoping I won’t relive over and over again in my head. You know how you still remember asking your first grade teacher when her baby was due?  Only to be shamed into never ever asking anyone that question ever again?  Every once in a while something will remind you of that moment, and all that embarrassment comes back up as if you were still six years old?  You know how there are like fifty things like that in your life, and one of them was last week?  Yea I had one of those today: I forgot my answer to “Why do you believe in Jesus?”

Now maybe the question wasn’t that simple, but it sure felt that way.  The dialogue had gone back and forth on other topics, and eventually my professor asked “Why Jesus? Why not another religion?”

I was surprised that she kept looking at me, as if not to open the question to the group, but that I was the one who needed to answer. So I started to describe some of the other religions, and then to talk about my personal draw towards Christ as I became a person of faith and how intrinsically I found myself with a need for Jesus.  She then says “Well what caused that? Why Jesus?” And somehow I just couldn’t articulate past that point, my brain just stopped functioning, and I literally said “I don’t know.”  How the heck did that happen?

Because here’s the thing.  I do know.  This question has been at the forefront of my life for twelve years.  I make myself answer this question every day, and I have been asked it by others more times than I could count.  Maybe it was just the way the questions came to be, or that seminary (and life) is meant to trip you up in ways that are embarrassing, or maybe it was just being in a classroom of thirty people listening to me try to say what they all immediately knew while my anxiety kicked in and I could feel my heartbeat in my face as blood rushed to my cheeks.  Maybe God knew I was having writers block on what to do for my blog this week and thought this would be a great idea.  I don’t know why I couldn’t answer, and it was not good.

And to rub a little salt in my embarrassment wound, I then got to listen to a bunch of people say all the reasons to believe in Jesus that I agree with and I know to be true:
Jesus is about forgiveness.
Jesus is about grace.
Jesus is about coming into our brokenness and saving us anyway.

And a bunch of other reasons that I do agree with and believe, and then no one said my actual answer, the one that was hitting the sides of my brain as soon as I closed my mouth.  The answer to why I am Christian, the answer to why my heart intrinsically knew that the God that was calling me was God, the Father of Jesus Christ, the answer for why I know the higher beings of other faiths or religions weren’t there beside me in my greatest moments of depression, the answer for why when I found my faith I found Jesus:

Jesus is about love.

This may seem like a “duh” answer, because it is.  Which is why I’m so annoyed at myself for not being able to verbalize it in the moment I needed to.  Why of all the times I’ve been asked this question, of all the times I have given this answer, but why today for some reason I was incapable is completely and utterly beyond me.

Jesus is about love is the single most important sentence in my life.  It is my salvation.  For some reason I have never thought I was worthy of love.  I know that I had a loving and caring family and friend group, I knew that they loved me, but I still could not get myself to believe them.  I remember in a therapy session many years ago my therapist did an exercise where I said certain phrases on a list and then let myself meditate on them, and then eventually talk about it. Statements like:
I deserve happiness.
I deserve respect.
I am beautiful.
I am a good person.
But the one that always brought me to tears, the one statement that seemed impossible to believe, the one statement that my depression continued to negate was this one:

I am worthy of love.

My therapist was a brilliant woman.  She made me repeat this sentence over and over, for weeks.  And through my depression and my agnosticism, I continued to repeat it to myself, hoping that if I repeated it enough it would be true, but it took years, and it wasn’t until a moment of desperate prayer, a moment where somehow I knew I wasn’t alone, that I began to believe it.

That’s why, I find, God’s greatest miracle isn’t the virgin birth or the resurrection, although both have significant meaning to me.  Jesus healing the leper and turning the water into wine are wonderful, they teach us grace and abundance, but they just don’t compare.  For me, the greatest miracle is, quite simply, that God loves me, loves us, no matter what, through all the crap we put ourselves through, through all the hate we show him, through all the millions of broken pieces that we glue together and call “self”, he loves us, and it’s through our unworthiness that we are worthy of love.

And I wish I could have said that today in class, but I get to say it here and now, because in love, there’s always room for redemption.

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
Ephesians 2:4-5

One response to “Advent 4 – Remembering Love – Why Jesus?”

  1. Nancy Skora Avatar
    Nancy Skora

    God uses each of us and leads us by example. You are on example of Gods Healing Love and Mercy! You are our Example How to live Thank you for being our Pastor.

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