May I join with St Paul on this day in sharing his greeting with you, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
In the first line of the Gospel today taken from John 3:16 it states, ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.’
The gift of the Son was a complete offering witnessed by his death on the cross out of love for us. An iconic image associated with that total self-giving is Michelangelo’s Pieta. Christ has been taken down from the cross and his dead body is held tenderly in the arms of his mother.
I refer to this image because it is in stark contrast with the current horrific image of George Floyd on the ground with a policeman pinning him down with his knee pressing against his neck and cutting off his air supply killing him. That image is shocking. One can understand why it has provoked so much outrage and protest throughout the world, especially in the United States.
The image of the Pieta is a tragic one too but with our Christian eyes we see Christ who has offered himself completely for our sake and his mother united with him in that self-offering. We are drawn into an act of redemptive love.
I can picture George Floyd being held by his mother in death and see her utter sorrow and pain. I can picture George Floyd being held in the arms of Mary deeply loved and his body held tenderly because he too is her son. He too is a son of God whose dignity has been violated and his life snuffed out.
God loved the world so much… and that means the whole of creation. The outpouring of creative love which is the life force and dynamism of the Trinity is an outpouring of love for all things and all people because all people matter to God.
God sent his only Son and as sons and daughters of God deeply loved we too are sent out to share the love we have received, a love that accepts, forgives, builds up, unites, consoles, stands up and stands with, heals and values.
I invite you to listen to one of my earliest compositions composed in the late 1980’s, People of Justice, from Under Southern Stars.