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Lenten Devotion - John 3:14-21

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need.Check out the rest of the devotionals in the series. 

As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPEJoin us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started. 

 

John 3:14-21

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." — John 3:16 (NIV)

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from St. Augustine. He was a Christian leader in northern Africa in the fourth and fifth centuries. At one point in his Confessions he said, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”

As I contemplate this quote, it is a truly powerful and profound reality that God loves each and every person equally. No one more. No one less. You see, God doesn’t play favorites like we do. He loves all. He loves each one.

A few years ago, I was blessed to travel to Honduras to see the wonderful work that Lutheran World Relief is doing there. It was truly an aha moment. As we met with coffee and cocoa farmers whose lives and livelihoods had been affected by the good work of LWR, I was moved by one particular interaction. A farmer and his wife who lived in a remote location spoke of how LWR had helped them see God’s love in a whole new way. They talked of how, since working with LWR, they had a terrific new life as a family, far beyond what they ever imagined.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”

I am so thankful for my interaction with this farmer and his family in Honduras. Their joy at how God had touched them personally in ways beyond their hopes was obvious and overflowing!

God so loved the world. God so loved each one.

As Christians, Lent is a time for us to reflect on the great love of God for us in Christ Jesus. He willingly gave his only son as the greatest example of love in action. As we believe in Christ, in this gift of love, we have the blessing of eternal life now and forever. We have a God who stretches his arms around the whole world yet loves each of us as the one beloved child he has always longed for.

As I left that Honduran farmer’s home, I said words of blessing: “Dios te Bendiga.” God bless you. But I was sure in my heart that God already had. He had blessed them with knowing and experiencing the love of God for them … and for all.

What was one particular event or time in your life when you felt God’s love directed at you as a parent loving their only child?

 

Prayer

God of love: We are amazed at your love for the whole world — and yet how you love each of us as if we were your only child. As we follow Jesus in lives of devotion and faith, lead us to bear your love to all people near and far. Amen.

 

The Rev. Timothy Runtsch currently serves as Senior Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Greeley, Colorado, and also serves as a member of the LWR board of directors. 

 

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