How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!   1 John 3:1

I am reading a book called ‘Do Something Beautiful’ by R York Moore. He explores some “firefly ideas” – these are the things where heaven comes down to earth, those things that reveal the glorious nature of God. One of these is embrace – “to be enveloped, to feel the warmth of love, to know at the core of yourself that you are safe and accepted. To embrace the other is to offer these things to another person. Only in the context of relationships can we rightly experience the great firefly idea of embrace, which has the flavour and smell of things like, grace, hope and love.” And my heart cries ‘yes’ embrace is at the heart of the gospel. We are loved, secure and accepted in Jesus and this heals and restores and enables us to grow into all that God has called us to be. We know it is easy to embrace good things and people we love, it is easier to embrace when life is good. It can be terribly difficult to embrace ‘amidst the sorrow of complicated circumstances, social ostracization and the secret fear and hate in our hearts’. Yet the call to embrace, to love and accept and keep safe that which seems unlovely, ugly, hard and different is what we are called to do. As Jesus said there is nothing good about loving those who love us and are lovely – even the ungodly do that. We are called to be like Jesus, to share living water with the Samaritan woman at the well, to eat with the tax collectors and to embrace those who pour expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. But it is difficult and ‘without the work of Jesus, we get stuck trying really hard’ – what we need is to allow ‘God’s hard work of embrace through Jesus to change us from the inside out’.

And therefore it is my prayer that you know the embrace of God, that you experience his great love for you and are secure in his acceptance of you as you are and his great desire to see you become even more beautiful and Christ-like. I pray also that you might know the embrace of your fellow man, your family and your Christian brothers and sisters. May you find in those relationships grace and love and acceptance. But more than that I pray that as the love of God fills your heart and mind and soul that you will be drawn to embrace those who seem unlovely to you. I pray that you find the Kingdom of God breaking through into your life and the lives of those you encounter as you offer to others the deep love, amazing grace and sure acceptance that you have found in Christ.

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