Lenten Devotional: Unconditional Love by Theil Larson

Over this Lenten season, the Spiritual Formation team at First Presbyterian Church in Bend put a call out to all to submit writings for a Lenten Devotional. I will do my best to post those here daily. You can also go to our website and access all of the devotions on a pdf file.

Here is the next submission:

Unconditional Love

To me, it is very clear that the love God has for me is meant to be spread around. It is a living, active, engaging love that is anything but static. Have I experienced hard times? Have I felt shattered, unable to function? Yes. And through those experiences I learned that I will wake up the next morning. The day will begin and I will still be living, breathing, and able to face at least one minute at a time leaning on the arm of God. There is strength in that realization, there is grace in that realization, there is forgiveness in that realization. Healing for me has become an action. My pain has translated into an understanding and community with others who are hurting. My involvement with them has become the path of healing for me.

I have been given the gift of teaching and music, and I realized early in my career that the school system is great but not enough. The children I saw hurting in my classroom needed more than the relationship of teacher and student. The path God gave me in becoming more involved in these children’s lives was and continues to be a path of healing for me.

I have found that I am most comfortable and happiest when I am acting on my faith, so I guess the term “activist” is a good one for me. My feelings and convictions run deep. Justice and Peace are centers for me. They touch me to my core, and the two are inseparable because they speak to me of the pain and destruction others are suffering on a global scale.

Global warming is part of justice and peace, connected to the body of compassion for life and neighbor to which I am called to respond. Participating in our own destruction is a confession I am called to make and to take a stand against. The deterioration of our environment is an outward mirror of an inner condition. I feel I must get involved in really loving the place I live, as well as the people with whom I live. Healing the damage of our industrialized civilization is the beginning of treating life with great humility and respect, and loving is the force that makes us fully human.

Perhaps, we are on the brink of realizing that our consumption is out of balance, that we have become disconnected, spiritually numb, and have lost our sense of the beauty of this world and of all life. We are looking for substitutes. We do not know what we have lost as we try to conquer the world.

Could this be the beginning of our finest hour? One in which we come together with a new vision? A vision begun as a tiny seed of trust in a Creator who walks with us through the dark and frightening confusion of our lives. A vision that acts on the faith planted in the dark, then reaches toward the Light. And bursts forth into full bloom!

–Thiel Larson


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