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Psalm 24, 29; Isaiah 42: 1-12; John 3:16-21

John 3:16 is one of the best known passages in all of Christian Scriptures. It is an appropriate passage to ponder during the Advent Season.

Advent is a feminine season. It is a season pregnant with possibility. It is a season of waiting, gestation, and anticipation. All such is in preparation for the Incarnation. God must have truly loved the world to enter it, in order to have the human experience. And in so doing, re-presenting the possibility for authentic human existence.

There is a sentimental story told of the little girl who was helping her grandfather herd the chickens back into their coop. As they proved difficult to herd, she, in a plaintive voice said, “I wish I could become a chicken, so I could show them how to get home!”...sometimes the sentimental can bear wise sentiment.

In the passage, “God so loved the world...”, the word for love in the Greek is the verb agapao, from which we derive the noun agape. “Agape,” says the Scottish theologian, John McQuarrie, “is the love that, lets be. Not in the apathetic sense does it let be, but in the empowering sense. So, therefore,God loves the world enough to enter it and empower us to be as authentically ourselves as Jesus was authentically who he was. And further, that agapastic love is the Imago Dei in each of us.

Oh God we know you by many names. This day
we name you, Love. For that is the medium
through which we experience you. Amen.


The Very Rev. J. Pittman McGehee, DD, ’87
Retired, Diocese of Texas
Houston, Texas
2015 Payne Lecturer





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J. Pittman McGehee, D.D. is an Episcopal priest and Jungian analyst in private practice in Austin, Texas. He is widely known as a lecturer and educator in the field of psychology and religion, as well as a published poet and essayist. He is the author of The Invisible Church: Finding Spirituality Where You Are (Praeger Press, 2008),Raising Lazarus: The Science of Healing the Soul (2009),Words Made Flesh, and The Paradox of Love, now available for sale through The Jung Center of Houston's Bookstore,, and other fine booksellers.

Pittman presented "What Is a Healthy Spirituality" during "Religion, Mental Health, and the Search for Meaning," a conference held at the University of St. Thomas. Click here to listen to the conference recordings.

Pittman also was interviewed as part of the "In Touch with Carl Jung" Salon through Centerpoint. Click here to view the complete list of recordings and to listen to Pittman's interview.