[#pictureLent] April 3: FOREVER

By Magrey R. deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist Church
Tampa, Florida

First, read Psalm 118:1-4 

Here’s a mathematical concept I discovered recently: Every straight line is actually part of a circle.

I know. It goes against everything you and I learned in grade school geometry, right? But it’s true. In theoretical mathematics, every straight line is in fact an arc.

As a circle increases its radius towards infinity, and grows to near limitless size, any segment of that circle eventually “flattens out,” and seems to approach perfect straightness. In that event, what is linear is actually circular, and what is circular appears to be linear.  

Mind-blowing stuff, huh? But that’s what happens when our minds drift towards matters of the eternal. Our narrow view of reality changes as our perspective zooms out in infinite wide angle.

The Psalmist took this idea and took it one step further, applying it to the concept of God’s love. To our limited sensibilities, love is fleeting, temporary, and contingent on both the situation and the worthiness of the person being loved. Human love is hardly constant, often unreliable, and typically has a beginning and an end. Linear, if you will. 

But God’s love is wider, grander, deeper, and much broader in scope than anything we can imagine. Through the widest possible lens, the lens of eternity, we see that God’s love is a sweeping arc, from the beginning of time, and encompasses all the brokenness and sins of humanity’s past. And it swings forward into the future, leading us toward a bright tomorrow in which we are part of God’s ultimate redemption of creation. 

What this means is that you are loved, regardless of what you have done, and regardless of how anxious you might feel about the future. 

What this means is that you can be an agent of God’s love, in the way that you practice unconditional, forgiving, and grace-filled love with others, even those who have wronged you.

What this means is that you can help tear down walls that separate people who have such a limited view of love that they believe they are worthy, while others are not.

In other words, you can be part of the circle. It is a circle, in the words of the old gospel tune, that will be unbroken, by and by, Lord. And in the words of the Psalmist, you can be part of God’s love, which “endures forever.”

Prayer: God, thank you for your love, which is deeper than my understanding and grander than my expectations. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, and help me share that love with others. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions: 

1. When have you ever experienced God’s unconditional love for you? 
2. What barriers prevent you from offering forgiveness for someone that has hurt you? 
3. What difference does it make to see God’s love as being wide enough to encompass your sins? 
4. In what ways can you be an agent of God’s love for someone else today?