Parents, Dogs and God
You know who parents are? They’re the people who love you anyway. The people who love you no matter what.
Sometimes these people are your biological mother and father. Sometimes they’re the people who’ve adopted you. And sometimes they’re the people adopted by you.
The love of parents is truly humbling, because it makes you realize that it is possible to be loved despite yourself. Despite your weaknesses and short-comings, your parents teach you that you can be loved anyway.
I am not a parent yet. Melanie and I do have a dog that we pay far too much attention to — I suppose.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie ABest In Show@ C it’s absolutely hilarious. It’s a fake documentary about dog shows and that incredibly strange group of fanatics known as dog fanciers.
Melanie and I are dog lovers, and since we don’t have any kids yet, Scroggins, our big black mutt, fills a dual role as family dog and only child.
We really are total geeks. We sing our dog songs and act like idiots. But we love her, and she loves us.
Scroggins has not always loved us both equally of course. She has loved Melanie since the day Melanie adopted her from the SPCA and sprung her from jail. But she didn’t like me much at all for two years. It wasn’t until I started taking her to church every day that she really started to love me with the eyes of a child. She adopted me after a long probationary period.
But no, I’m not a parent yet, and maybe some of you aren’t either. But even if all we have are dogs, or godchildren, or little sisters, we know something of the love a parent has for a child.
For we were children once ourselves: and no matter how many years go by, our parents still remind us that we are their children. Don’t they? Not because they treat us like children, but because they love us like their children. And that love forms us. And that love is a humbling thing.
Humbling not because it brings you down, but because you know it is the very love which brought you up.
It’s the kind of love that gives you a place to stand. It’s the kind of love that lets you go forth in the world. It’s the kind of love that makes you feel like you are somebody.
Yeah it’s no surprise that the ones who gave us life, whose will and flesh gave form to our bodies, are the ones whose love and touch give shape to our hearts.
For me, I believe the moment I really Agrew up@ was when I realized that my parents had loved me this way. I did not come into my own, until I first knew that the ones who made me, were also the ones by whose loving care and unconditional support, Athe Real Me@ could finally stand up.
The love of parents imparts identity, it imparts character, and it empowers our souls to become big.
I believe that we can not claim to be grown up, until we have been blessed with the wisdome to apprehend this love. I believe that we are not Agrown up@ until our hearts know that we are loved beyond our worth, and that we can love others even when they do not deserve it.
I believe that in any persons’ imperfect way, most parents are capable of mirroring in their love for their children this kind of love which not only makes us be, but makes us become real.
Sometimes this love has to come from outside the home C from a teacher, an uncle, or a grandma. And sometimes it is only our relationship of discovery in God which reveals to us this Real-Life-Giving love I’m talking about.
And of course … God is where it comes from. For the love which inspires the creation of the world, is the same love which inspires our coming into full maturity as the sons and daughters of God.
The Gospel of John today, chapter one, makes an obvious parallel with the language of creation from the first chapter of Genesis. It does this to show that the God of Redemption is the God of Creation. It tells us that there is not the AMean Old God of the Old Testament,@ and the AFriendly God of the New.@
The Gospel of John says that the nurture and maturity of the whole human race are both developing in the context of a relationship with one and the same loving God. Who C just like a parent C walked with us as toddlers picking up our socks and spills; cried with us in our adolescence; and danced with us in our adulthood; loving us all the while with the love that both creates, cares for, and finally recognizes as grown-up C despite our sins, our weakness, and our foibles.
You see I believe that the God of Love does Creation in a process of several essential developments. I call them Ametaphysical evolutions
I believe that God inspired, caused, and sustained the Creation of the universe, by God’s will alone.
I believe that God took on the nature of the Creation, in the Christmas Incarnation, by God’s will and in concert with the assent of a young Jewish girl named Mary, whose ancestors had taught her who God was and why God should be trusted.
I believe that in Christ the nature of humanity was brought into union with the being and will of God, even toward death on a cross.
And I believe that in the Resurrection, the fullness of our union with God was completed, and our future as children of the fulfilled creation established.
It is within the context of this metaphysical evolution of the universe and humanity, that we also take our human journeys in microcosm. We are born of the flesh and will of others. We are loved and cared for by others. And in time, we are called to take up our own identities, wills, and talents to stand up as AWho We Really Are@ to become AGrown Ups.@ Our maturation as humans comes when we recognize and reciprocate to others the heart-shaping love of our parents, the people who loved us anyway — even when they knew who we really were from the moment we first took breath.
And in just the same way, in the journey of the human spirit, and the soul within, I believe that our fullness as the children of God comes when we recognize the life-giving love of God the creator, redeemer and sustainer of the World.
You’ve heard the old prayer: ADear God, make me into the person my dog thinks I am.
My prayer is: AHeavenly Father, awaken me to discover the person you know I am, and made me to be.