Sacred Music Sunday: God So Loved the World
We hear a lot at church about “The World”. The World is used as a bogeyman – a shorthand for anything bad. We’re told not to be like the world, as if the world is something separate from us. The World is full of evil people doing evil things, devoid of any virtues whatsoever and is to be viewed with suspicion.
This tendency can lead to insularity and cliquishness. I had a mission companion who had never met anyone not a member of the church until she arrived in the mission field. I know parents who won’t let their kids play with non-LDS neighbors.
As I was sitting in church on Sunday, the speaker made a disparaging comment about “The World”. Instantly, the Spirit brought to my mind John 3:16-17. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
God loves the world. Jesus is not here to condemn the world. If the world is something that God loves and that Jesus does not condemn, then why do we as a church hate and condemn the world? It’s not Us vs Them.
God created the world and saw that it was good. There is so much beauty out in the world, both in nature and among our fellow humans. During the pandemic, I’ve had a chance to explore more of the natural world as I’ve had less of a chance to interact with other humans. And when the pandemic subsides, I look forward once again to being with more people. Rather than condemning them as a bogeyman, I will love them, like God does.