Revelation 1: Love
What do you understand about who God is?
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Transcript of Video:
I’ve really come to love the gospel of John and the epistles of John since I’ve become a member of this community and I think the primary reason is because the message is love. The gospel and the epistles tell us about a God who is love, whose very character and nature is love. And out of God’s love, He sent Jesus into the world to reveal to us the true nature of God and to reveal to us our true identity as children of God. And so the gospel writer says, “To those who believed in Him, to those who entered into relationship with Him, they discovered a new life and a new light in their lives and they received power to become the children of God.”
One of my favorite verses is from the first letter of John where the author has this tremendous enthusiasm about this theme. He says in first John 3, verse 1, “See what love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God and that is what we are.” And this author and the community have discovered through Jesus a God who is love and have known themselves to be beloved disciples. And that’s been a powerful message for me personally and I think it’s the message that speaks most deeply to our community and it’s also the witness that we have to offer the world. So we want to extend this invitation to all of you who are participating in this video series to open yourself to this wonderful truth and let it transform your lives.
– Br. David Vryhof
Spot on with this write-up, I seriously feel this web site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the information!
Our identity is God given. It cannot be taken away from us by anything or anyone. A sure and certain foundation for our lives and forever. Thanks be to God who has made us in his image and likeness so we can know God and share his love with others.
So starting from the most basic: God is love. But just leaving it that seems almost like a cop out. Love, as the workbook says, implies action. But action is not necessarily love, either:if i choose to do my friends homework for them because I want to show them I care, then that may be action motivated by love but it’s not a loving action. .. I’m doing something wrong and making them aide-r and abetter. Likewise, if I intervene, even worth the beat of intentions, then I deprives them off the agency to ask for assistance.
So it boils down to: God is love; Love is action; but it is intelligent and thoughtful action, motivated by that same love. Going back to the idea of the Word… Love thought and action wrapped together as one. Maybe that’s also where the idea of light comes in: God’s light Illuminates what we needed or how we can help others, that or actions are not malignant.
God is love in the highest. He is a Holy God, whose love transforms us into the creatures He made us to be and that we cannot be in our own strength.
God is my father,, who understands whom I am & loves me.
God is love, peace, spirit, the Son and Savior. He is a loving father , and creator
I have a unique understanding of God, due to my experience of being “slain in the spirit” in 1992, on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I truly believe that God allowed me to feel his unconditional love enveloping me through that experience, and I KNOW, without doubt, of God’s Love and can recall being completely immersed in it. I came out of that with the knowledge that Love encompasses all, and is the ultimate power that moves Creation and everything in it. God’s love is the current that holds creation in place, and it exists in each nano-cell of everything in creation, including the places that we term “void”. God is pure and complete unconditional love that holds the planets in their courses, and even the smallest parts of creation in that love. It is that love that allows “even the rocks to sing” – though we haven’t the ears to hear their singing.
God is our Saviour and is by our side to help and guide us through this life.
God is love in motion. God is the gardener in my soul who digs, rakes, weeds, plants, and rejoices in fragrant herbs and blossoms.
God is the author of Joy.
God is pretty unquantifiable, in my opinion, or, I suppose, from my vantage point. I know there is a perfect kind of love, one that is absolute, and I find God within that space when I’m able to wander into it.
God is I AM, alpha and omega, all in all, beyond human knowing and understanding, which is why Jesus is so critical for us– we know God by knowing Him; piggybacking on the the above comment “I love God in the abstract but I love Jesus in the flesh” That’s our greatest gift — that Jesus is accessible to us today, right now, within, above, below, all around– no matter where we are or who we are – His Love is there.
I cannot imagine living in a world without God.
Just looking around you see HIS beauty……in
the world He created, His creation of mankind.
He is an Awesome God! And to think He loved
us and gave His Son for our salvation.
How wonderful is that????
what do I understand about who god is? god creator of heaven and earth through whom all things were made; all beings, even that dreadful colleague; all space, even the space of a faculty meeting; and all time, not just deep time and eternal time but also this moment, and this one, and this one. he created me and all beings, even the dreaded ones, in his image: our character and nature is love; reveal it, be it, accept it, give it, see it in the room, light your wick from it. It is light and it is peace. Do it not just when it is easy, at home, in front of the candle, safe and quiet, but in action, in relationship, in encounter, at work in and with his creation–beings, space, and time—always. Be him. Lighten the world around you with his character and nature. Lighten.
God is the light at the end of the tunnel as described by those having had near-death experiences. Love, peace, acceptance. This is also discussed in the Bible when Moses goes to the mountain.
God is the Good News which holds us up when life may not be full of good news.
For me God is an unknowable mystery. But that mystery is the unfathomable nature of love. I probably see God when I imagine Jesus. In other words my feeling about God is love in the abstract, but my feeling about Jesus is love in the flesh. This doesn’t seem to make a lot of coherent sense but there it is 🙂
I have come to know that God is everything, and I can embody the love of God if I get out of my own way and allow His love to shine through me. In my relationship with Him and all my relationships, I let the human part get in the way of the LOVE which I understand and experience. It is different than our human relationships, because we feel the emotion, but God’s love is more you know in your “knower”, your core.
God, the spirit, the construct, the power or logos behind everything, or whatever, is so huge that I can’t get my mind around it. Who can comprehend the infinite? I know “he” exists, but I can’t claim understanding–and I think that’s OK. Many of the comments above are great and helpful. So I look forward to being open to the power, the wisdom, the strength, to God. . . to the light. . .
Thank you! Your words are my sentiments but I have been inept at determining how to state my thoughts.
What I understand of God is possible only by knowing the word (Christ Jesus) and that comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. In those moments when I see Jesus most clearly and hear His voice plainly, I come closest to knowing God and His love. Without Jesus, my frail, sinful human mind doesn’t have a clue of Gods power, majesty, and presence in our lives.
My “picture of God” is the pictures I see of the Cosmos. He is in all things, of all things. When I picture God this way, he/she is the very genetic code of my being. The atoms that make me up.
from a hymn to the tune Beecher:
Your kind gifts are far more loving
Than we mortals have deserved–
Word made flesh in Christ our Savior–
And Your call to love You first. . .
Unconditional Love, Creator of all, parent, sister, brother, partner. God isn’t on high because I’m unworthy, but because He is worthy.
To me, God is All That Is. All – the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. “All things come from Thee, O Lord…” I need to believe this so that I can accept myself as worthy of God’s love. His love is unfathomable for this human being, but I can experience it around me every moment I look and really see His presence. I hope to come to a better understanding of this love through this Lenten exercise.
I don’t know enough about or of G-d to say who She is. The mystery of G-d is of a being, a consciousness more vast, indeed, infinite, than I can even imagine.
God is beyond my comprehension and I am comfortable with that. The fact that He has gone to such great lengths to show His love for us leaves me in awe!!
This piece connects with several random thoughts. First, God is so unique and immense I can’t begin to understand the nature of the being. The use of he/she is so constraining.
I am reminded of Joan Chidester’s wisdom: God is the driving force of all change. That is the core of its nature.
God has unquestionable love and regard for every bit of creation bathe closest I can get to understanding is love for my children. It’s a tiny model of what God embraces.
Lastly, the gift of Jesus, a being fully human. He is a teacher, an example of the full potential of humanity. If only we could move a bit closer to that truth.
I can trust that God is with me every step of the way.
God is the best in each one of us
God to me is my best friend, my mentor, somebody I can talk to anytime I want and always know in my heart and soul that he truly loves me unconditionally.
Today’s question asks “what do you understand”? For me, God is a spiritual force, who I understand mostly through my experience of the the beauty and balance of nature, through hope, through solace, through the grace I sometimes see in others.
Not too often I find another Winifred, so just had to give you a shoutout and say I totally agree with what you wrote. I find my understanding of God in those places and people as well.
Thanks and blessings
I’m not comfortable with the whole “God is love” thing because to me love is an emotion. I believe that God loves me and acts on His love for me. That’s easier to process. But mostly, I just have faith, know that God is there for me, am thankful for all that God has provided me, and don’t question. I like to believe that He is watching over me, always with me, and loves me. I just believe…
if it helps I think of it this way – love can be an emotion, but the love that is God, and real love in our lives, is not something we feel, but something we do. God is a verb, not a feeling.
I believe that God is an all good, and loving Presence in my life. At least, that has been my experience. I look at my faith as that small “mustard seed” of God’s Presence. Sometimes, like the charm I was given as a child, that mustard seed is encased in glass, but when I allow myself to be vulnerable enough to crack the glass open, His grace and love flow out an fill me with strength and courage and the assurance that He is with me always. But, it is up to me to be open to Him.
God is Sovereign yet an all encompassing love and on the other hand as CS Lewis said he is wild. For me the best symbol for God is Aslan.
As the hymn says;
“God is love and where true lo-ove is, God himself is there.”
Quick answer: not nearly enough! 😉
I am hoping that the rest of this series can help me to learn to appreciate the Evangelist’s writings as the members of the community obviously do. To this point, I would definitely rank John’s Gospel below the Synoptics (and, in particular, Luke) in my personal response. I see less love than I see divisiveness, with Jesus continually driving away those seemingly-receptive (at least initially) to him (“your father is the devil”), and replacing the Synoptics’ call to us to live as members of the coming Kingdom with the sort of simplistic “believe in me and you’ll be saved” rhetoric I’m all-too-familiar with from fundamentalism. (Being half-Jewish, I find it hard to ignore the prima facie anti-Semitism as well.) Hopefully, this series can convince me I’m selling the Fourth Gospel and its author short.
This footnote helped me understand what the actual meaning is to which Jews are referred in the Gospel of John.
The Greek term traditionally translated the Jews (hoi Ioudaioi) refers here and elsewhere in John’s Gospel to those Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus; also in 5:10, 15, 16; 7:1, 11, 13; 9:22; 18:14, 28, 36; 19:7, 12, 31, 38; 20:19.
So it is not Jews in general, but those who particularly opposed Jesus. Helpful?
God has given us life and freedom. He is in a relation of love with us. For me he is best observed in others acts of goodness (ultimately Jesus) and creation itself.
Our freedom is a delight and a burden.
God is love. Simply put, but yet God is infinitely more complicated than that. I have come to know God in the love that has been given to me by others and by the love that I give to others. We are made in the image of God so the love we share with each other is but a glimpse of the love that God has for us, for me. We can never fully comprehend the magnitude of God’s love for us because frankly we lack the language that could communicate and understand that love. However, I know it because I feel it and I can see it in the physical world around, in the relationships I share.
God is love, absolutelty. God created me for the love of it, out of love, to be loved, to live in God’s love, to radiate God’s love, and to abide in his love forever. Twelve years ago I realized that thought my my name was Worthless. Within a half an hour of thinking about that statement, which was even shocking to me, I saw the word “Beloved” appear written in the air above me, and I have embraced that identity ever since. It was then that I fell in love with God. He rescued me, he transformed me, he gave me a new life. Praise the name of Love forever.
Do you know the lovely song “I Will Change Your Name”? It speaks to me of God’s love in a heart voice, non cerebral, non intellectual. God’s love and friendship is what I crave in my soul:
I Will Change Your Name
by D.J. Butler
Album: We Exalt Your Name – Touching the Father’s Heart, Vol 3
by Vineyard Music
I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Lonely or afraid
I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks my face.
Pam, your testimony is more convincing than all the academic attempts to describe/define Him. He truly is God to me, too, because I know Him and feel His presence in my life.
“He is a presence to be felt and known
In darkness and in light …[Who]
Wields [guides, handles] the world with never-wearied Love
Sustains it from beneath and kindles it above.”
From Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Adonais”
I understand God as a being, obviously not one that I can comprehend, but nonetheless ‘being’ in a univocal sense. I further understand God to have created all that is through an act of will, which in God is identical to love. All that is thus exists only by God willing/loving it into being with each passing nano-second. This is grounds for trust, that I pray for the grace to grow in.
God is everything. Without God, I am nothing.
God is love. Air. Water. Light. Warmth. An embrace. A gentle breeze and a storm. Angel wings. Flame. Hands that lifted me out of pain and a gently whispered, “Not yet” as I was put back into the danger. Mercy. Hope. Life. God is the source of everything good and I believe God is present in everything that is good. Beyond that, I don’t know, but want to learn and understand.
God is all knowing. This can be an overwhelming thought. He is always forgiving which is something I need to work on. God is true love, hope & peace which is something else I would like my life to become.
Wow, that is a tough question. God is all things,part of all of us, all-loving, all-knowing, and all-understanding. But I still have a hard time imagining him/her/it. That is where faith comes in for me.
I believe God to be the guiding light of my life. In the darkest times of my life, God’s light has illiminated my path, healing me both physically and spitualy. Without God’s light shining in the dark coronors of my life I would have felt abanded and lost. I am grateful fot the light that shines, sometimes dimmly, in the darkness, in the deepest places of my life giving me both comfort and guideness.
God is pure unconditional love beyond words.
I believe that God is the powerful and mysterious existence of love shown to us in the amazing order of creation and in the ability of humanity to exist imperfectly in its perfection without being destroyed and eliminated. Scripture shows us over and over that even those special chosen ones made many errors and yet were divinely used to bring humanity closer to the mysterious, awesome creation. Such forgiveness is the ultimate love.
God is a mystery-the Eucharistic Mystery, but in everyday life symbolized by a rock,-the rocky top of a peak,- a rock one can hold in the hand . Meaning God’s enduring presence in interrelations which is by Grace.
God is everything that is life – the creator of all that exists. Is it easier to know God or to understand God? I don’t think I can possibly understand God, but I have had moments where I believe I have known God – felt his presence within me.
The irony for us is that limitation is inherent in our existence as humans in a physical world. God is limitless. I believe that one of the places grace lives is in the words we use to try to describe or understand God.
God is the Creator, the Sustainer of all life, the One who perfects life and thru Him we can become more perfect by allowing His Word to lead us. We need to be open to listen, open to be corrected and open to the love He sends our way 🙂
God is the source of all good. The mystery of love. God is seen in action just as electricity is seen when a lightbulb is lit.
God is spirit, loving source of all that is, one power, all
good, everywhere present, all wisdom, divine energy,
continually creating, expressing, and sustaining creation. within all of us, one universal mind.
“Understand” implies, to me, a more cerebral and linear grasp of something. “Know” and “experience” work better for me. I know and experience God as ever-present, never-changing, all-embracing.
That feels right to me too, Kathleen. I do wonder, though, if somehow God does somehow “change” in order to make room for our imperfections…. and that may be the unconditional love we experience.
God is everything for me. God is love and God calls me precious in God’s sight and I am called to do the same in my daily life.
My understanding is that He IS! And that means that
he is anything I need him to be at any moment and he never leaves me. Creation, nature animals and humans are part of God’s realm.
God is the one I turn to when I am in need, someone who I turn to in time of happiness and wonder when I see his beauty in the nature he created for us. He is beyond my understanding but I know that he is.
My understanding of God is but a speck, a dot of life and light. Yet I do know Him as the Creator of the magnificent universe in which I live, as the Father of our beloved Jesus,
and as the source of all goodness, all wholeness, all wellness, and all life. With love, compassion and mercy, He heals us and restores us, and calls us to Him.
Thanks be to God.
I can not describe God and yet I know him and love him and feel loved by him, the resr will have to wait.
God is the centre of my life, the air around me.
God is the great “I AM”. He is the totality of Love, who gives Himself in love to all that He created and continues to creates;especially us, His children.
First and foremost I know that God is beyond my small, limited capacity to imagine or comprehend (much less understand and describe), so all I know of who God is, is only pieces and impressions that his work in my life has left.
God is generous and forgiving, a savior who stands beside me, and the spirit that moves in me to give strength and comfort. God is the creator of all that is and the healer of my sinful human soul.
God is a call upon me, to be and to do only that which is God’s.
When I think about God I wonder at how God could ever entrust his creatures with life in the first place. It had to take an amount of love and trust I can’t even imagine. The fact that God’s creation can take part in that creation to bring even more life but also it’s destruction as well is beyond understanding for me. Like everyone else has said in their own way, “Love trumps all!” Glory to God whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine!
God to me is a God of love. While He is invisible and I don’t always feel His presence I regard Him as a benevolent parent. He has a plan for me and wants what is best for me. I need to keep reminding myself of these facts and need to turn to Him more often for His love and guidance. I feel loved by my family, friends, and community but to know that I am loved by God and will always be loved by Him is special and I need to remind myself of that fact.
God is unconditional love — a kind and thoughtful parent who with Christ and the Holy Spirit guides us to maturity if I am willing to listen and learn.
The giver of grace
Off topic but I want to say that I am very grateful to the Lord, and to all who are sharing their thoughts and feelings during this Lenten series. I am finding your comments comforting, inspiring, revealing, insightful and challenging. Thank you.
I agree. I am getting so much from the comments/thoughts. I thank all who are sharing.
To me God is like a loving father that wants what is best for his child(ren) and when we open ourselves to his love we can open ourselves to love others and live in love and charity with our neighbors.
God is compassion. Never ending compassion and love.
My knowledge of God is so limited by my earthly state, my earthly desires, my earthly ways of thinking. Yes, he is love–of an infinite, natural sort that I can’t begin to grasp. His love is in every breath I take, in the air around me, in the people I meet and who meet me. He stands behind me, beside me, before me. He is comfort.
God is love. “In the beginning God…” Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast and is not proud. It is not rude, self-seeking, nor easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, and rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Even when we do not understand, there are certain child-like ideas that we can hold tight to, as God demonstrates His love in our lives more and more. Awareness, God-sensitivity, keeping my heart tender toward receiving love allows me to grow and give love through the power of His Holy Spirit. His love is here now.
God has given me a second chance of Love with Him and with my high school sweetheart. She has gotten me to be more involved with church and more than just Sunday services and I thank God every day for her and her for Him.
God is! Words cannot convey for me the mystery of God. The more I try to “define” the less I feel His presence. More often it is in the silence that God makes Himself known. Amen for the mystery of faith.
God is everything and all things. He is the creator, the ‘watcher,’ the teacher, the Father. He is LOVE but not in the way we think of romantic love, but as compassion and caring.
God is the life source, the love source in all creation.
To me, God is unconditional Love. God IS LOVE. Creator of all, sustainer of all. My strength when I need it, my uplifter, my companion. God is in me and everything and everybody and all is in God. So hard to explain. Language is limiting.
Yes, Gina, words fail us in trying to define and describe Him. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each one with a mission, and One in One.
What I understand about who God is… my understanding, like John’s gospel (scripture), like my life experiences in the context of studies within communities (tradition) and like my life experiences beyond the structures/studies that communities provide such as artistic endeavors (reason), who God is and what I understand about that is alive and evolving. God is the hope that comes in the deepest part of my fears, God is the courage that keeps my faith alive when it is time for me to grow into the next phase of ever evolving transitions, God is ever present spirit that surrounds and protects each and every one of us even as we shout and sing with joy… and God, to me, is like energy, mysterious and wonderful, powerful and full of divine finesse, all abundant even in the limited and scarcity view I sometimes get stuck in… God is amma/abba, filial, and most amazing Spirit!
What do I understand about who God is? God is the infinite definition of love to the universe. But once you begin to define God, you put God into a box. That box cannot begin to describe or contain who God is.
So rather than ‘understand’ God, I choose to accept that God is in my life and the world around me, loving me, caring for me, and providing all I need.
God is love, totally healing, nurturing, life giving, incomprehensibly forgiving, only asking us to love, not perfectly, but enough every day. Thank you Brothers.
I try to understand who God is through the life of His son, Jesus. I also am helped by nature in my understanding of God. Whenever I experience the majesty, the solitude, the fierceness, or the simple completeness of nature, I feel that these are the moments when I begin to understand a bit of who God is and the amazing wonders that He can create.
God is at once both infinitely everywhere – the Creator who has given this beautiful sunrise today – and one who revels in his love for his people, one who makes and keeps covenant. And this in and through the Lord Jesus. And in this present moment he loves me. This is overwhelming.
Amen to that David!
God is present. I know this. If God is love, my actions tell me I have much more to understand and learn.
God is the creative, animating spirit behind, beneath, within all creation. God is, at one and the same time, beyond us all and within each of us. And where we recognize connection (love) we encounter God.
Beautifully and simplistically put !
Penelope, I think you said it all for me.
Although it can sound trite or simplistic to answer that “God is Love,” it becomes awe inspiring and thought provoking to reverse the equation and acknowledge that “Love is God.” And that implies that the Power behind it all, the Power that holds the Creation together and keeps it from flying apart, is the unitive power of Love.
Love is God. Yes, this.
God is omnipresent. God is omnificent. God is everywhere and everything. God is in us every moment of every day. God is LOVE.
I understand God to be the creator of everything. I would have little clear idea of who God is except for the life of Jesus Christ. And through the life of Jesus I have come to believe (like Kew) that God is best understood by us as love.
God is someone, something greater than I; in the search for this meaning, this love, I feel as though I am trusted to find the way. Does that make sense?
God is all powerful, all knowing, reactor of everything. He loves me and He is my Father and my husband and my best friend I pray and he answers.
My understanding is necessarily limited, and I understand God as boundless love. God’s love is not human love and the language we have can only approximate some small aspect of it. I was watching part of the new Cosmos series last night, and while I thought it thumped a bit too hard on the idea that church was/is opposed to science, the way it offered help in dimly perceiving the unimaginable vastness of space seemed to me to speak to both the shortcomings and the power of the human struggle to know God. So when I say know God is love, I am also saying that I know I don’t know more than a fraction of what God’s love means.
You covered this subject beautifully! I can see thru the glass only darkly. Trust I will know more in God’s time.
Thru the glass darkly was one of the ideas on my mind when I wrote, and also the idea of being unable to see beyond the veil.
Looks like many of us are on a similar page, which I find so heartening given that I imagine we come from many different backgrounds and would differ — even disagree — on many things. But this one thing not only unites us but suggests that all other differences will someday burn away in glory. (Okay, maybe that’s getting a little dramatic? But still, I’m heartened.)
I recommend The Cloud of Unknowing–a wonderful anonymous Medieval contemplative work.
The underlying message is that the only way to truly “know” God is to abandon all preconceived notions and beliefs or “knowledge” about God and be courageous enough to surrender your mind and ego to the realm of “unknowingness,” at which point, you begin to glimpse the true nature of God.
Isn’t that what we are talking about here?
I know God is my Savior. He has saved me from my sins and so I am his child and will one day see him face to face. He saves me on a daily basis by giving me a fresh start every morning and by walking with me through the day.
God is my ever-present Father, who I can reach out to in time of need. He is always there for my prayers.
I understand God to be beyond any of my faculties to comprehend-be it intellectual,emotional,spiritual. And yet,he is intimately involved in my life-caring,guiding,weeping and loving. He wants me to allow him/her to fill my life with true nourishment.
I have learned I do better to accept the mystery rather than try to understand God. I am comfortable with God is love, God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. I am not God.
Beautiful… thanks so much Mary. As I look at what I understand God to be, I learn about who I understand myself to be (beloved… or not). I too am a pretty strange mystery at times… peace
Thank you, Mary and Jennie. I, too, understand nothing and seek to dwell in the mystery.
I don’t really understand who God is. He is beyond my comprehension. Omnipotent, Always loving, Always there for me. I see Him as my Heavenly Father that I pray to every day
What do I understand about who God is? That’s a wonderful yet complex question. I run a huge gamut of thoughts about who God is almost every day. Sometimes, I imagine God as a judge who punishes me for my sins. Other times, I imagine God as a benevolent parent who wants what’s best for me even if I don’t get what that is at times. The concept of God as Love is one I can embrace but I can’t always hold onto it once I’ve embraced it.
I love that God is love and that God is hard to hold on to for you when you feel that love and embrace it… thanks for that, I can relate!
I don’t think I understand anything about God.
God is my maker, my redeemer, my friend, my love.
I don’t understand who God is.
He, it, they, are incomprehensible. But they are experiential.
I don’t understand, but I’m trying to believe.
God is EVERYTHING that is good