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Thanksgiving as love, the image of God

By Ernesto Tinajero

Love being the image of God contradicts the platonic ideal introduced by St. Augustine of the uniqueness of the individual. I have written on this before and it needs further exploring. When we love one another, then we find true freedom. Jesus’ love sets us free in our being. When I allow God’s grace to flow through me to others, I am present to God. This is not simply a proposition to agree with, but something I experience.

I remember the first time I met my wife at the welcome booth at Fuller Seminary. She was starting her PhD program in the New Testament. She was wearing a powder blue vest. My heart raced and for days the lightness of my being threatened to fly into the Pasadena blue sky. Love as we were beginning set me free. After many years of marriage, I remember the same waves of freeing love as we both floated in the Caribbean sea. The color of the water as blue as our planet seen from the heavens. Our son playing on a cruse ship swimming pool. Love flowing as warm water.

Strange. I still feel the freedom of being that comes from being flooded by love. When Tito was born. When Lace published her dissertation. When she said I do. When, in the mornings as I pray, I encounter God and the world seems to fill with a light. I give thanks for these moments as I do even in the darkest of my times. When my son went under the surgeon’s knife, I experienced the Holy Trinity. When my girlfriend, due to my undealt with sin, broke up with me and I nursed a broken heart. When she forgave me and we became man and wife. In all these events and many more, God became present to me. When two or more gather in Jesus name, he is present and this truth means God comes to us in love.

Love and being with each other in the messiness of being alive as a sinner among sinners redeems us into the reality of God. As I looked at my church family that were still digging out from under the effects of our wind storm, looking at those faces, some worrying about when their power would be restored, some like me feeling guilty for never losing power, and those who had lost power and regained it, I felt the glory of God come over me.

I was grateful. Gratefulness, the point of our national holiday of Thanksgiving. Coming from the depths of a Civil War, Lincoln made this holiday national for us to remember that we owe all to God. To be grateful is to recognize how much we have been give in the storehouse of love. As I look at my family and crave and eat our turkey I know I looking into the face of God as when two or more gather, God is with us.

 

About Ernesto Tinajero

Art, says Ernesto Tinajero, comes from the border of what has come before and what is coming next. Tinajero uses his experience studying poetry and theology to write about the intersecting borders of art, poetry and religion.

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