We recently got a new puppy, a Great Pyrenees and shepherd mix. He is a bundle of fur. He is cuddly, smells like puppy, and really is good natured. In short, this puppy has worked his way into our hearts quickly. My grandson, James, was visiting this Easter weekend and he was ready to take the new puppy home. James was trying to make us a deal so that he might be able to keep the puppy. No deal was accepted, and the puppy has stayed with us.       

We are still trying to figure out the puppy’s name and have been through several. We strongly considered Gabriel, then moved to Marley, and most recently Bailey. We’ll see if Bailey sticks. There is nothing like a new life, a new birth, whether it is a puppy or a baby. There is such wide-eyed curiosity, amazement, and beauty present.       

You have a new birth in Christ. And, as newly created child of God, you are deeply and dearly loved.  God loved (and loves) you so much, God was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for your salvation.  God sacrificed himself.  God’s love is remarkable and largely incomprehensible. Yet, that is God’s love.       

And, God’s love is not conditional. You can’t make a deal with God in order to gain God’s love or God’s salvation. You simply receive it through faith in Christ, as gift. Way to easy! Maybe it is the ease that makes it challenging. We might think it is a deal too good to be true.  You can’t earn it.  You can’t do anything about it, simply respond by reoriented your life towards Love.  As remarkable as it sounds, it is truth.   You have been reborn in Christ. Each day you are resurrected and given new life in Christ. Each day you are invited into God’s presence and God calls you by the name, your new name, “beloved.” And God declares simply “be-loved.” It is God’s gift!