I knew a bishop with a most annoying habit; every time he met someone, regardless of who it was, or how often they met, that bishop would find the opportunity to say to them, “The Lord loves you!”, and then would call them by name.
“The Lord loves you, Bill!”
“The Lord loves you, Sharon!”
“The Lord loves you, Michael!”
And so on it went. It was a beautiful message, but it never let up. It was unceasing, unchanging, relentless.
In the first instance, most people received the message with gratitude, and sometimes with awe. However, after the fifth, ninth, or twentieth time, things changed. Folks would tune it out. Some people hid a grin or smirk behind their hand. I heard others mock that bishop's habit, but only ever behind his back. But the frequency and persistence of the message did not make it any less true.
The message of God's love can be rejected or neglected. It can cause some to complain. It can be held in disdain. It can be hung out to dry... or it can be nailed to a cross. But the love of God made known in Jesus Christ is indeed unceasing, unchanging, relentless. And it is offered to you, and to me.
In these most holy of days, we are drawn to the foot of the cross, and to the door of an empty tomb. If we are still and listen, we will hear anew the eternal truth:
“The Lord loves you, (insert your name here)!”