Educating for the Lived Gospel #145

So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

This beautiful parable gives us a warm and intimate image of God as a forgiving and loving father. As a good parent should, he has given his son licence to make mistakes – and learn from them. Ideally, this is how all parents feel about their children. We are also challenged to provide this example, loving this way in all of our relationships. It is challenging to do so because we have no defences from the pain of rejection & disappointment.

It is easy to fall into the trap of controlling as a form of ‘love’. However, we know our own growth occurs when we are free – including free to fail. Therefore, we need to model that to our young people. Yes, such love is open to abuse – but aren’t the successes breathtaking!

Have a great week!


SO much talk

A great deal of it empty

About this pivotal human trait


More important is the question

‘Do I act out of love?’

The focus of love is on the other.

Its focus is on giving not receiving.


Whether it is intimate love, love of humanity or love of creation

If love flows through my actions,

Then goodness radiates from those actions.

Relationships and communities are built and strengthened.

Slowly, imperceptibly

Right relationships and justice draw closer

And God’s reign is glimpsed

Educating for the Lived Gospel #137

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (2 Cor 13:13)

What we now call the Trinity was part of the faith of the earliest disciples of Jesus, but it took the early Church more than four hundred years to be able to put appropriate words on that faith. It is still easy to get tripped up in definitions. For me, the Trinity describes human reality. We are made in the image and likeness of a God whose basic nature is relationship – the mutual in-dwelling of Father-Son-Spirit or Creator-Redeemer-Sustainer. This helps to explain our need for relationship – we are made in the image of God who is relationship. It also shows us why we need community. When we are in community we glimpse more of God’s face – we are sustained in community.

Our role is to help young people glimpse the reality of the Trinity in their lives. Help them to reflect upon and see the people who love them as they are, the relationships that give them freedom to grow, the communities who sustain them, as manifestations of God who says to each of us not “I love you when…”, nor “I love you if…” , but “I love you!”

Have a great week!

Educating for the Lived Gospel #121

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

Like faith, we can show love towards others, but it is difficult to measure. Yet we know whom we love and who loves us. That love can take different forms, different types – we are each so unique. Part of the meaning behind this scripture is that God is the ‘glue’ that binds us together in community. If we truly believe that God is love that should affect who and how I am. However, I am not speaking of ‘lurv’ – some romanticised notion of love. As a parent and educator, I know that tough love can be required and is frequently about the setting of limits and expectations.
Young people are thirsting for meaning – and can spot hypocrisy at a distance. They also thrive when they have secure boundaries. By promoting and living a faith that God is love, we give young people a wonderful, credible example – of care for themselves, others and those on the margins.
Have a great week!

Educating for the Lived Gospel #104

The Lord says, “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands” (Is 49:16)

Mistakenly, people categorise the Old Testament as portraying a God of vengeance. Clearly, this passage portrays a God who cares about each person intimately. This is not a distant God, nor a judging God, but a God of love – who loves each of us in a deeply personal way. A God who is fittingly called abba – not ‘father’, so much as ‘daddy’. Our own self-doubts prevent us from fully perceiving this about God. ‘God is love’ – but not for me. We cannot earn God’s love – it is gift, freely and lavishly given! Operating out of our limitations, we can create a God made in our image, a God of fear and judgment; then do greater damage by foisting that on others.
Young people are finding their way – thirsting for meaning. They can search for it in unhelpful places – some are hedonistic places, others can be places that numb their existential ache. It seems to me that if they could more fully grasp the intimate love that their creator has for them, as the quote suggests, this would be a great benefit to them. Our task is to be God’s heart and hands, showing God’s love for them as best we can.
Have a great week!