To Realize A Fuller Humanity

My morning devotion today was based on the 15th chapter of Luke.  It is sometimes called  the lost and found chapter of the New Testament.  Three parables appear in this chapter that identify four lost items: a lost sheep, a lost coin and two lost sons.    The protagonist in three of the four situations passionately sought  out that which had been lost: the shepherd sought the lost sheep, the woman sought the lost coin, and the father sought the eldest son who was lost in his self-righteousness.  In the fourth situation, the protagonist, the father, waited with a aching and longing heart for the younger son, lost in self-indulgence,  to return home.

I think the primary way we get lost as human beings is we lose our fullest humanity to self-indulgence and fear.    When I read the gospels closely and with discernment, I see that Jesus was constantly calling those around him into a fuller humanity shaped by the many manifestations of love.   He called people out of self-indulgence and fear to love lavishly with a lack of restraint.  He called upon his disciples to shed cultural expressions of power and hierarchy and serve the last and least, the poor and suffering.   He challenged his disciples to love not only those who loved them, but those who hated and despised them.   He led his disciples time and again across religiously drawn boundaries that marginalized and dehumanized people in order to affirm their humanity.    He appealed to the rich to empower the poor.  A large part of his message was that when you lose yourself and give yourself away, you find yourself.

There are an endless number of ways we get lost by surrendering our fullest humanity and settling for something that is far less.  The very heart of the good news is that Divine love, as we see it expressed in the life of Jesus, vigorously and enthusiastically seeks us out and calls us into a fuller humanity molded and sculpted by inclusive love, compassion, forgiveness, grace and a passion for social justice.

Jesus’ so-called divinity is experienced and seen in his amazing humanity.  It could be said he was the most fully human person who ever lived in that love completely shaped and guided his life.  His humanity was so amazing that the faith communities that formed around him could only describe him in Divine terms.

It is now the Easter season, and the season’s most profound message is we are called to live his risen life as he finds us and lives through us.   We do get lost, but we are found by a Divine seeking love and empowered to live out that love in the world.  In the process, we grow into a fuller humanity.

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