It seems like yesterday, middle school gym class at St. Mary of the Woods grade school in Edgebrook, Illinois. We were picking teams for a game of basketball and, as always, I was picked last. No one ever appreciated the 4’5”, 80lb powerhouse I was. I wasn’t chosen.
Have you ever not been chosen for something? Not a good feeling. But I’m here this week to tell, all you unchosen, some really good news. It comes from the same book I talked about last week, The Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen. As I mentioned last week, Nouwen wants us to believe in our Belovedness. The core truth of our existence is that we are the Beloved of God. The world tries to tell us otherwise. We have to ignore those voices that tell us we are worthless or unloveable and remind ourselves that we are the Beloved.
Nouwen goes on to say that we are to become the Beloved, not just use it as an adjective. We need to believe it and let that truth filter into our words , actions, and attitudes. That is when we will change and we can then affect a change in others.
The greatest gift we can give another is the gift of their Belovedness.
So how do we become the Beloved? How do we get that truth so deeply embedded in ourselves that it makes a difference?
The rest of the book deals with the four movements of the Holy Spirit that are continually at work in our lives to help us realize our Belovedness. They are described as Taken, Blessed, Broken, and Given.
This week I want to talk about Taken, or maybe a softer word for it would be Chosen.
In order to really believe the truth of our Belovedness, we need to believe we are God’s chosen ones. Already, I feel a slightly sick, angry feeling in the pit of my stomach. Flashbacks of gym class filling my head. The worldly notion of chosen means when someone is chosen that means someone else isn’t. Someone else is excluded or rejected.
In the world of God’s chosen it’s quite the opposite. To be chosen of God does not mean others are rejected. It includes others, accepts others. It is not a competitive choice; it is a compassionate choice. All are chosen. Before we were even knit in our mothers wombs, we were chosen by the eyes of love as precious, unique, special, and of eternal value.
So how do we get in touch with and stay in touch with our chosenness so we can become the Beloved?
Nouwen gives us three ways.
- Unmask the world around you for what it is. The world will tell you lies. Remind yourself weekly, daily, hourly that you are chosen.
- Look for people and places where truth is spoken and where you are reminded of your chosenness. (Come to Firstfruits!)
- Celebrate your chosenness constantly. Give thanks to God and to those through whom he reveals to us our chosenness.
If you are looking for a place to be reminded of and celebrate your chosenness and that of others, I hope you will consider joining us at Firstfruits sometime. This Thursday, January 23 we have the first of our monthly interactive retreat days called We-Awareness. Each month we will spend a day in solidarity and chosenness with women in need. Thursday we have the privilege of gathering with women from the MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary. See our website for details. Firstfruits.info/Events.
I’m on a committee planning my grade school 50th class reunion to take place next September. Maybe I’ll suggest we pick teams for a blog writing competition.