Faith seeking understanding #002: A Manifesto (if I had one): God loves all of you. And God loves all of you.

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

About a month ago, I read an article by Pamela Hodges on the website The Write Practice entitled “How to Write a Manifesto: The Struggling Writer’s Guide.” It seemed like a good idea. I wanted a manifesto. I have strong ideas about a number of issues and topics. I have deeply held and hard-won opinions that I want to share with the world. But, after I read the article, nothing came to mind for me. I found this strange, and it has taken me this long to get around to solving my problem.

You see, I drew a blank. Of all the things I wanted to say, I couldn’t think of what might be important enough to say that I could say in a profound and well-crafted essay. I made it out to be some big project that would define my life now and forever and sum up everything I have experienced and hope to experience in the future. It seemed a complex and daunting task.

And then, I realized that my task was very simple: and so could my manifesto be. A manifesto is built around a truth. And while I was thinking of a manifesto as many words spilled about some grand, complex truth, I came to realize this: sometimes a truth is very small, but profound. Sometimes a truth is profound because it is small. Because it is simple.

But yet, it sometimes takes a lifetime to realize the simplest of truths. And then another lifetime to understand it. And then—if we’re lucky—to apply, to live into.

So, I asked myself if I had come to realize a simple truth that I could share.
And I found one. Here it is:

You belong.
God loves ALL of you.
And God loves all of YOU.

Sorry to have to shout. But the reason I’ve written the same sentence twice, capitalizing different words, is that, in the English language, the sentence has the same words but can mean two related, but very different things. I must, I struggle with which emphasis I should assign to which meaning, but perhaps you can help me figure out which is which.

You belong.

God loves ALL of you.

And God loves all of YOU.

Jon Carl Lewis (in a rare moment of inspiration)

You see, the first meaning I see in “God loves all of you” is that God loves each and every sentient being. I suppose I could differentiate that sentiment by saying something like “God loves all y’all,” but then it might seem I am appropriating someone else’s idiom or not taking the sentiment seriously.

And it’s a serious sentiment—but a joyous one. Each one of us is loved by God in a profound and special way. We have often been taught that God only loves—or acts in loving ways—towards some of us but not all. That makes us constantly wonder if we are among the beloved or causes us to strive to “prove” ourselves to God that we are worthy of his love. I feel this to be untrue and misguided. We are all created in the image of God. We bear the image of the divine in the most fundamental sense. This I believe.

Which brings me to the second meaning I see: “God loves all of you” in that God loves each and every bit of you. We have often been taught that only some parts of us are acceptable to God. This causes us to denigrate and hide parts of ourselves we don’t think God can handle, like our sexuality, or our anger. I also don’t believe this is true. God created us, our emotions, our bodies, our minds, our spirits. Furthermore, the eternal Christ became human, thus dignifying the very flesh which we should have known was always precious in the sight of God. Every part of us. This I also believe.

So, there’s my manifesto. I’d appreciate if you repeat it with me if it resonates with you. Or even if it doesn’t—but you want to believe it. It’ll work either way. Put the emphasis where you feel it is appropriate for you.

“God loves all of you. And God loves all of you.”

“God loves all of you. And God loves all of you.”

“God loves all of you. And God loves all of you.”

Amen.

Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at joncarllewis@gmail.com.
May God richly bless you on your journey.

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Faith seeking understanding #002: A Manifesto (if I had one): God loves all of you. And God loves all of you.

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