The word “worthy” keeps coming to my mind this week, and an amusing memory. My mom was kind of famous in our family for her banana bread. Baking was not necessarily her thing, but hospitality was, and when Mom had you over she usually made banana bread. Friends have told us how, if they stopped by Mom & Dad’s on a trip, Mom would send them off with banana bread to eat in the car. My kids have fond memories of Grandma’s banana bread and hot chocolate before bed on their visits. When we visited Mom & Dad we, too, could count on enjoying Mom’s banana bread.
My sister lived in San Jose for about 10 years. Then she moved to the same town as our parents and even to an apartment in the basement of their home. It was a wonderful move for her, but once, shortly after she had moved, my sister told me, “I am no longer banana bread worthy.” Ha ha. It was a real privilege to be “banana bread worthy.”
There are quite a few hymns with the word “worthy,” such as “You Are Worthy” and “He Alone is Worthy,” “Worthy is the Lord,” and others. It is true indeed that the Lord is worthy of our praise. I don’t know of hymns about another side of worthiness, though, which is that WE -- you and I -- are worthy of God’s love.
It’s easy to think we are not worthy of God’s love. I’ve heard -- and felt myself at times -- people talk about how they have a hard time believing God really loves them. Why should he even care about me, like Psalm 8 says, and I wrote about last week, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” One time a woman at a retreat I attended said, “There are 6 billion people in the world, why would Jesus want to love me?”
Our own seeming unworthiness gets us down: I am so far from perfect, God would never love me; I’m not lovable, why would anyone love me, especially God. A friend told me about a passage from Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk's Memoir, by Paul Quenon, and a conversation the author had with Thomas Merton: "One time he asked me, 'How do you know God loves you?' I fumbled out some vague reply. He said, 'You know God loves you because he brought you here and takes care of you.'”
We are worthy because we are God’s. You are worthy of God’s love because he brought you here and takes care of you.
What can I pray for you today?
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. --Matthew 10:29-31