Agape: March 8, 2020

Agape: The 2020 Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

I grew up with the childhood hymn, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” But it’s one thing to read about God’s love in a book, and another thing entirely to experience it in the form of God’s “voice.”

My father passed away when I was in my late 30s. We did not have a particularly close relationship, and throughout my entire life, I cannot think of a single time when he told me he loved me. I can, however, recall any one of a number of very hurtful things he said. As I got older, I realized that he said these things not because he was a cruel person, but because of his own feelings of insecurity and fear. That said, he showed tremendous dignity and courage in facing death from a very nasty form of cancer.

A day or two before he died, I was visiting with him while he lay in bed. He was at a point where he simply couldn’t get up any longer. We spoke mostly about how Mom was doing, and what would happen with the family business going forward. When it came time to leave, I walked to the door and turned to say goodbye. “I’ll see you later, Dad,” I said. As I reached the door, however, I heard God’s voice saying, “You don’t know that you’ll see him again. You have to go back in there and tell him you love him.” I did. And he told me he loved me. Those were the last words we said to one another.

That was the first time I can really remember hearing God’s voice, but thankfully not the last. It is the love that God has expressed at those times that has enabled me to overcome the fears and insecurities that keep me from not only loving others but loving myself.

Lord, I thank you for speaking to us. Help us to realize that your voice is always below the surface of our fears, and grant us the serenity to listen. Amen.
-Michael Boss