I love to read. I tend to read a myriad of genres. In particular, I am drawn to books on deep spirituality, and how we can better love, understand, and extend empathy to one another. With that in mind, one of my favorite authors is Father Richard Rohr. One of my favorite Rohr quotes is this, “Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.” ~Father Richard Rohr
I find that quote both interesting and challenging. Often, in religious circles, we tend to make people feel like they have to be better, work harder, or be “more spiritual” in order to receive of God’s love, or to belong to community. This typical religious behavior is not always intentional, but it does seem to be a consistent issue. Indeed, if you were to ask people who have left religious communities why they did, the above concerns would be prominent answers.
If you enter a space, a group, a community, a church, or any gathering, and feel like you can never measure up, you leave. I wonder, what would change if we changed our welcome to be that of love? Meaning, the first experience people might have within our church community, would be that of knowing they are loved. That would be a paradigm shift, right? Imagine people coming into sacred spaces first feeling loved, and not the typical weight of feeling like they have to change, and they don’t measure up.
What can we do differently, to create environments of love, that welcome others into the ever present love of God, that is all around us?
Have a blessed week!