In the summer, the fair-complexioned must be respectful of the power of our neighborhood star. A few minutes on the first outing, a few more on the second, and so on. Eventually, if all goes as planned, even the palest among us can spend the day delighting in the outdoors, under the unfiltered sun, without fear of the aftereffect.
The good news is that God loves us. But that doesn’t tell us much, because we have only a very opaque vision of God or of God’s love. What we have instead are a few words, vague and amorphous things, each residing in our individual vocabularies as products of our own identities, like autobiographies in our personal libraries. To say God loves me has a distinctive personality each time it’s uttered or thought, even by the same speaker.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even an unfiltered glimpse of God’s love in its reality – which is God, John tells us – would overwhelm us, scorch our spirits. We may even, if we like, think of our spiritual growth as becoming more and more able to experience and enjoy God’s love, without pain.