Hesed–God’s Love in Action

This is a second excerpt from my husband’s sermon on hesed.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16

John’s famous third chapter verse above is the best example of hesed I can imagine.  Look what it says.  First, God so loved.  The love which is God’s essence comes forth from Him to the world — to His own dear creation.  His love for His people is part and parcel of His love for the entire world in which we are found.  God has consistently shown His special care and loving concern to this little planet, and the people who live here.

The second example of hesed in this verse is that God gave His only begotten Son.  God gave of His very essence for His people.  He held back nothing at all in His love for us.  When we humans love, we always hold back something, even if we don’t think that we do.  There is always this urge, this compulsion to watch out for ourselves, to hold onto something that is just for us.  But the Lord does no such thing.  God held onto nothing, instead sacrificing everything for our good and our salvation.

Especially in this season of Lent, we should not forget the magnitude of God’s sacrifice for us.  Looking at the cross should remind us in our deeper consciousness that God gave it all so that you and I would not spend eternity in torment.

As I said earlier, hesed means not just an emotional love, but a love that has feet, a love that shows itself in works.  God has shown this,love to His people.  So too must we, as people who are in Christ, display the love of God to the world by doing those works which He prepared for us to do.  Before time began, God established works of hesed, using our efforts, YES our efforts.

Much of the work God does in the world is done through the hands of men and women and even children.  So God does indeed show steadfast love when we care for the sick and the poor and the lost and those whose lives seem now filled with darkness.  We may not be able in and of ourselves to show hesed to others, but we can be used by God as His instruments in the grand eternal plan of salvation

For more about God’s love see:

Learning to Love

Forgiveness is Love in Action

Lovingkindness by William R. Miller–Book Review

 

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? — Movie Review

My oldest daughter, Beth, loved Mr. Rogers as a child.  When he asked a question on his program, she would actually answer him, just as if he were in the room with her! She was a shy little girl, but his quiet, unassuming manner drew her in and she listened carefully to whatever he had to say.  She and I were eager to watch this documentary about the life of Fred Rogers.  I borrowed it from our local library, she brought the popcorn, and we settled in to learn more about her childhood hero.

Fred was a Presbyterian minister who was able to preach without using sermons or wearing a collar.  He had great empathy and compassion for young children — this was his gift.  His passion was to teach them that all our feelings are normal and can be controlled, and that we are loved and special “just the way we are.”  He felt that television was a wonderful vehicle to spread the message of love, understanding and acceptance;  however, many programs for children at that time were thoughtless and violent (has anything changed?)  He was a true servant of God.  Seeing him interact with children brought tears to my eyes.

He began to work out his vision with a local show in Pittsburgh, before he even completed his seminary training.  Eventually this led to the well known “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”  that my daughter watched.  Fred talked with children about being scared and angry;  he broached difficult subjects like divorce and death;  he tried to teach the difference between real life and the world of make-believe;  he wasn’t afraid to explain big words children might be hearing like “assassination”.  While many shows for children speed things up with frenetic energy, Mister Rogers slowed things down.  It allowed children to become calm, quiet and able to listen.  He became known as an authority on how to talk to children about disturbing public events and an advocate of Public Broadcasting.

In this documentary, you meet many people who knew and loved Fred Rogers.  The man you met on The Neighborhood seems to have been the true Fred.  There was no stage mask or personality, just a real person who wanted to connect with and love others, especially children.

VERDICT:  I give this movie five stars.  If you or your children watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, you won’t want to miss it. It’s a beautiful bit of nostalgia and a good reminder to use our spiritual gifts and calling as servants. It does have a PG rating (language in a few instances) and as a documentary will not engage young children.  It will probably resonate most with people like me and my daughter, who remember his work.

Maybe you’ll enjoy revisiting the Mr. Rogers theme song: