Sam is not the only person I feel this way about, although he’s pretty darn special. I tend to feel this way about my parishioners too – I remember sitting at an elementary school graduation for some children in my first appointment, and watching as my church girls received award after award, and I was sitting there thinking, “they’re mine.” As the Conference Youth Coordinator for the North Central New York Annual Conference, I look at the young people I work with, and watch them leading worship, and speaking about God at work in their lives, and I think: “Mine.” Just this week I visited one of our church camps, Casowasco, and saw several “former youth” of mine who are now on staff at camp, becoming objects of inspiration to a whole set of young people on their own, and I just felt so happy seeing them in action, in ministry, and I thought, “They’re still mine.” As you may also know, our annual conference will soon be merged together with three other annual conferences in
Mine. As I was thinking about that amazing bond that we can feel with others, imperfect though we are, I thought I was starting to understand, or at least get a better hint at how God feels about us. I think of my love for my nephew Sam, which is certainly one of the most powerful feelings I’ve experienced, and I can only imagine a bit of how much my brother and sister-in-law feel about Sam, their child, who they created, and who is, in every way, made from them, part of them, even while he is unique and all his own. How much, then, must God love us! I think of the chorus of one of my favorite songs from The Faith We Sing, called, “You are Mine,” by David Haas. “Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home; I love you and you are mine.” God must look at us, and think, “Mine!” My beloved children. Created in my image. So unique. So wonderful. So precious. Mine. God must just treasure us.
Sometimes, we lose sight of that. We can’t see ourselves as God sees us, and/or can’t see one another as God sees. But if you can remember the love that swells inside you when you look into the eyes of your child, or grandchild, or niece or nephew, or godchild, or student, or friend – I hope you can catch a glimpse, a hint, of how beloved you are, knowing that you belong to God.