I used to think Jesus’ love was small and now I think Jesus’ love is extravagant.

I used to think ___ but now I think ___ #OutofSortsBook synchroblog

Snowbird Swimming Pool

flickr photo by amishrobot

When I was a kid, we used to go swim at a public pool. It was huge with clear, turquoise blue water, and I was a voracious swimmer. In second grade, I joined the local swim club, and learned how to shallow dive so I could race in the breast stroke.

When I was in third grade we moved to a new town. Since I had learned to shallow dive in the public pool in our old town, it made perfect sense to me to dive in the 5′ section of the new public pool. So I did. And for the only time in my entire life, I got in trouble. In public.

I was completely humiliated. I had to sit out of the pool next to the life guard. I hung my head in shame, vowing to never get in trouble in public again.

Out of the Shadows, Flickr craig Clouter

flickr user craigcloutier

I was a pretty good kid. I went to church every Sunday from the second week I was born until I graduated high school (just ask my mom). All my life, I heard about sin. I knew the things people said were sin. As I moved into teenage-hood, I became more aware that I did things that the church people said were sin. And that’s when I first started wearing the cloak of shame.

“Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
     Guilty of dust and sin….”

I’m not really sure if I was a Christian. But I did believe in Jesus. I knew that Jesus could never, ever, love me because of all the terrible things I had done. I wrapped that cloak even tighter, made sure Jesus couldn’t see my face.

“Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
     Who made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
     Go where it doth deserve….”

And then, it happened. Jesus captivated my heart. He gently took off the cloak of shame. Jesus showed me that he knew of my sin, that he loved me, that he already had taken the blame for what I had done. I was finally free. I could finally face Jesus and bask in his extravagant, inexplicable love.

“And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?”

To get even a glimpse of that extravagant love of Christ, we have to allow ourselves to look up, to let Jesus see our face under the cloak, which we cannot remove on our own. We have to stop arguing that we are so terrible that the creator of the universe could never forgive or love us.

Just stop talking. And listen. And accept love.

“You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
     So I did sit and eat.”
 
Check out Out of Sortsthe new book by author and blogger Sarah Bessy. To hear Sarah talk about the book, which will no doubt make you a fan if you’re not already, and make you buy the book immediately, check out this interview on the Newsworthy with Norsworthy podcast.
_______________________
Poem: Love (III) by George Herbert. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/poem/173632