The Look of Love
The starting point is the assumption that, regardless of how we have been taught to think about ourselves, God looks upon us only with love; that God welcomes us into a place and a relationship so abundant on every level that there is never any doubt that what we need - whatever we need - can be supplied; that this creative, resourceful God keeps faith with us as we take those first, terrifying steps outside our comfort zone; and that gradually, little by little, we will be taught the lesson we may never really know we missed as children: how, because God believes in us, we can believe in ourselves, in others and in God.
It is the Gospel of God's unqualified acceptance which meets us where we are because it begins with the act of recognition itself. The look of love includes the understanding that no one has ever looked at us like this before. No one has ever shown us that depth and quality of regard. No one has taken the time and trouble to hear us out, share our dream, encourage us to ask, enabled us to receive. No one has ever shown that level of interest in us as a person until now. No one has ever shown us how faith in ourselves, in others and in God is indivisible: that the key to one is the key to them all. No one has ever shown us how the process works: how we - yes, even I - can move from where I am to where I want to be; that once I know how to have faith, I can not only grow in so many other ways, but I know how to help others grow alongside me.
It was the unqualified acceptance that I found in an open Methodist youth club in North Wembley which showed me the way back. And at Durham, this sense of belonging was reinforced by my friends in Methsoc. I was astonished and delighted to discover that such a broad range of personalities, experience and theological opinion could be held together by fun, worship and pastoral care. The discovery was healing: here was a family to complement my own. It was also inspirational: here was a way of bringing people together in a fractured and fragmented world.
Where is our primary focus? Focus determines our reality. Matthew 6. Eye. What we choose to look at determines the way we see the world. The way we see the world determines the way we experience the world. The way we experience the world determines our capacity to engage the world in positive and creative ways. Our ability to be positive and creative is fundamental to our ability to handle change well, pastorally & holistically, sensitively and justly. For the common good. To create the foundations for an even greater common good in the future.