Guess How Much God Loves You

Anyone who has ever known a kid has had the experience of reading the same story over and over and over again. And then reading it a few hundred more times. This is a story book that was a favorite of both my daughters. I read it about a million times. It’s called Guess How Much I Love You.  It’s about a bunny…Not an Easter bunny, instead its about a parent bunny and a baby bunny.  In the story, the little bunny tries to quantify how much he loves the big Nut Brown Hare and each time the big bunny talks about a love that is just a little larger, a little further than the little rabbit can imagine.

guess how much i love youThe baby bunny says “I love you all the way to the tips of my toes”—then the big bunny swings him high in the air so that his toes almost touch the sky and says “Well, I love you all the way to the tips of your toes”—and the baby bunny replies “Ohhh… that’s a whole lot.” Then he says “I love you all the way to the mountains…” as he points at the farthest place he can see on the horizon. The older bunny says, “I love you all the way to the mountains and all the way to the sea beyond the mountains.” The baby bunny says, “Ohhh…that’s really far.” The last page of the book (which, incidentally I can never get through without getting just a little bit choked up) has the baby bunny saying, just as he falls asleep,  “I love you all the way to the moon.” As the parent bunny is tucking in the sleeping bunny, he whispers into the darkness… “I love you all the way to the moon…and back.”

You know…as I was rereading that story for the one million and first time just the other day, I realized that perhaps this is an Easter story…even if it doesn’t have an Easter bunny in it.

This is the night that we take time to tell the stories of just how much God loves us…. and even then, we don’t get to hear them all.

This is the night that we remember that God has loves us wherever we are, through all time, and always just little bit more than we can imagine.
This is how the story of Salvation History unfolds.

Guess how much God loves us? God loves us enough to create a whole world, filled with animals, birds, trees, water, the sun and the moon and stars. God loves us enough to put that world into our hands and God loves us enough to forgive us when our trust fails and we do what God has asked us not to do. God loves us a whole lot.

Guess how much God loves us? God loves us enough to preserve faithfulness in the wake of destruction. God loves us enough to reach out in love and establish a covenant with us. God loves us enough to send us rainbows so that we know that rain will never again destroy the earth. God loves us a whole lot.

Guess how much God loves us? God loves us enough to hear us and respond when we cry out in fear. God loves us enough to lead us to new and better places when we are being chased by our enemies. God loves us enough to take lead us to salvation in ways that we do not expect and cannot understand. God loves us a whole lot.

Guess how much God loves us? God loves us enough to continually reach out to bring all people together. God loves us enough to send healing and grace upon us. God loves us enough to transform even the hardest human heart into a heart of flesh that will allow us to love God and each other in ways that continually point to the even greater love that God has for us.   God loves us a whole lot.

Guess how much God loves us? God loves us enough to call us into relationship again and again. God loves us enough to to bring us to life again and again. God loves us enough to call us to be prophets among God’s people and to always speak of the great love and sustaining promises that God has made to humanity throughout all time. God loves us a whole lot.

In these past days of Holy Week leading up to this night, we have been in conversation with God. On Monday Thursday, we said, “Jesus, we love you enough to kneel down and wash your feet.” And Jesus said, “Well, I love you enough to kneel down and wash everyone’s feet.” That’s a whole lot, we said.

That evening, we said, “Jesus, we love you enough to wait with you in the darkness and to pray with you in the garden.” And Jesus said, “Well I love you enough to take the bitter cup that has been handed to me and walk toward death.”  That’s a whole lot, we said.

On Good Friday, we said “Jesus, we love you enough to stand at the foot of the cross and witness your death.” And Jesus said, “Well, I love you enough to to die on the cross.” That’s a whole lot, we said.

Tonight, we say “Jesus, we love you enough to take your body down from the cross and go in darkness to the tomb.” That’s when Jesus says, “Well, I love you all the way to the cross… and back.”

Preached by the Rev. Hailey McKeefry Delmas at Church of the Epiphany at the Great Vigil of Easter at Church of the Epiphany on March 26, 2016. 

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