Ten Days of Awe, Day Six: Lovingkindness


Lovingkindness is an odd word. My computer underlines it with irritated red squiggles. It comes from the Hebrew chesed (which computers also don’t like) and there are other English attempts at it, but this seems to be the most complete. There are sermons and songs about it, whole books about it.

Fact: the chesed of God is too big to define.

Love itself is too big to define, even human love, let alone the Love which God is, and which is God. You have to add kindness to it, although surely kindness is included in any real love…

The New Testament term is grace, another huge word. Undeserved, unearned. You can’t buy or sell it or work for it.

It’s the word for the sixth of the Ten Great Days of Awe. We are drawing near to the day that represents God’s Great Judgment Day—a day many look on with fear and anxiety. So it’s good to know that chesed is part of what is building God’s dominion on earth. It’s the foundation, in fact. As that first reading pointed out, all of these ten words are included in each one.

On Yom Kippur we could hang our heads and worry and fret. Or we could stand firm in the immeasurable, unspeakable, indescribable love of God. When we say words like “undeserved,” we could fall into the error of thinking we are innately evil and God shouldn’t love us.

Fact: We are God’s children. God made us.

God likes you!

To ponder: In what ways have you seen lovingkindness acted out in your life today? In what ways have you acted in lovingkindness today? How does that build the dominion of God in the earth?

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