Monday, June 11, 2012

Coming to grips with the love of God when we know that we don't deserve it - Jeremiah 31:3 with a story of a medieval monk and his sermon on "The Love of God."

SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.”

A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on "The Love of God." As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.

Measure love is a real challenge … and the only really parallel that we have available to us is ourselves. How do we love? How much do we extend love? How often do we love? And so those kind of statements go.

In short we measure the love of God by our own capacity to love … or even worse, by the degree that we have been loved. We have no criteria to comprehend the love of God. There is nothing in our life that help us understand it let alone accept it.

And yet, the love of God for the likes of you and me is that standard of the gospel. Therefore, we sit and take a look … a long lingering look at the cross and wonder … could it be … is it possible … even in our wildest imagination … for even God to love us that deeply, that profoundly, that drastically … even when we have been so wicked, hostile, cruel, mean spirit? Could it be?

And then faith steps in and says, Yes. Yes, in the face of our continuous stream of nos. Yes, in the light of the reality of our lives and misdeeds. Yes, within the midst of all the garbage that accumulates and buries us. Yes! Maybe that is why they call it Divine.

Thank you for loving the likes of us when we know at the deepest level that we really shouldn’t be receiving that kind of love. God, we are so glad that we are not dependent on the love of human beings to make it in this world. Thank you for loving us!

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