Wednesday, January 31, 2018

For God So Loved

There is a deep danger within the modern church's emphasis on a selfless Christianity, with the notion that we all, upon coming to the altar, get pushed to the side into the place of bridesmaids to make room for the next bride and the next bride and the next bride after that. There is a deep danger with the notion that Christianity is "not about us." And it starts here:

For God so loved the world....

For God so loved the world that He sent His Son into it. Not because He wanted the world to know how awesome and amazing a God He is. Not because He wanted to just show His power and coolness in one more way. Not because He needed to practice controlling Creation one more time. But because He

When you read about God's love in the Bible, it's never just because God is love, although that's certainly a large part of it. God's love in the Bible is always God's directed love, the love He has for His people. For us. Everything God does out of love, He does because He's got His eyes on us, because He's got His heart on us. 

He didn't send His Son to die for His own good, but for ours. He didn't breathe the world into Creation just to have a world to worry about; He did it so He would have a world to put us in. He didn't drive the nations out of the Promised Land because He could, because they were some sort of pawns in His cosmic game of Risk, but He did it to make a way for His children to enter in...because He loves His children. 

We are not called the bride of Christ because He's tired of being single and has decided to settle for whatever He can get; we are called the bride of Christ because He deeply, deeply loves us

So if we say that God is love, but we do not know how incredibly God loves specifically us, then we are missing something absolutely essential to our faith.

It's a point of tension in Christianity. By the fallen nature of men's hearts, it always has been. We don't want to give the impression that our faith is about us, but if it were not for God's loving eye specifically on us, there would be no such thing as faith to begin with. We don't want to give the impression that we love God just because He loves us, but the Scriptures themselves say, "we love because He first loved us." 

We know that this love is at the root of all that we do, but we don't want it to be misinterpreted or misconstrued as being the heart of our Christianity, even though we cannot help but recognize that it is at the heart of our Christ. 

Thus, we have settled for a Christianity that says that God is love, but never experiences it - one that makes room at the altar, then pushes itself aside so that there's always a space to stand next to Christ, always that expectancy, always that breathtaking beauty, always that moment just waiting...but never lived. 

We have settled for a Christianity where a great bulk of the Christian faithful declare with their tongues that God is love, but their hearts have never known it. Because, you know, it's not about us. is. 

God says it is. It's you that takes His breath away when you stand at the back of the aisle and start to move. It's you for whom He waits. It's for you that the stars dance in the darkness, that the butterfly flaps its wings, that His Son carries His cross. It's for you that He sheds His blood, and it's for you that the tomb is empty. It's for you that this space at the altar stands empty. Not so that you can come down and, at just the last second, step aside. No.

You are the bride of Christ. He loves you.

And if your modern Christianity doesn't know how to make room for that, it's time to find yourself an olden way. For even John the disciple knew enough to call himself "the one that Jesus loved." It is no less true of you and I. 

We are the ones who Jesus loves. 

It's time that we have a faith that can handle that. 

1 comment:

  1. Just what was needed this morning. thanks