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“Love your neighbor as yourself.” It isn’t the first three words that have challenged me these past few months but the last. Can I get a pass on the last so I can do the first?

Richard Rohr paraphrases Augustine, “God cannot be found “out there” until God is first found “in here,” within ourselves, as Augustine (354–430)”

We tend to focus less on the love of self and more on the outward expression of love through us. Jesus seems to challenge this idea that we can bypass the “love of self” in loving others well.

Time and time again my experience tells me differently. When I am lacking in my sleep I am irritable and I don’t love my family and those around me well.

If I am not loving myself well or treating myself well… I can’t love others well.

One of our values as a church is authenticity. We really do want people to come as they are. We want people to be themselves and to be their most authentic self.

Just so people aren’t confused at what we mean. Regardless of your political affiliation, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, introvert, extrovert, etc,. You BE you. To us, it isn’t complicated. Although life is complex…

one thing that is simple for us… is the belief that each one of us are really remarkable people that God created. And we are all becoming and figuring out this crazy life together.

And we believe for us to be able to love others well… we must first wrestle with this idea… that we are God’s beloved creation. Not a mistake. Not a sin. Created through and for love.

In fact the greatest temptation that Jesus faced in the wilderness was to be something and someone he was not.

For some, this might sound like a selfish spirituality. We have equated humility as the absence of self. But the mystery of it all is that the essence of humility is the love and embrace of self. The self that God created. It is the denying of the worldly voice and acceptance of a voice that calls us beloved. It is only from this place that we can love others well.

The mystery of this love is that the more we love ourselves we love others. And in loving others we are affirmed even more in our creation of who God created us to be.

So hear this… God loves you. You. Yourself. God created you. We think that is a really big deal. You BE you.

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