Thursday, April 23, 2015

Incomprehensible Love

4th Sunday of Easter

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Link 1 Jn 3:1-2. I’d suggest reading 2:28-3:3, for context, and the other readings for this week. It’s lectionary #50, if you’re looking at a hard copy.

So, between all of the readings for this week, we read that Jesus is the cornerstone rejected by the builders, and the good shepherd, and that we are the children of God - he is our Father.

In seeing things about God, we are also shown things about ourselves. If Jesus is the cornerstone, then we are the stones of the building; if Jesus is the Good Shepherd, then we are the sheep; if God is our Father, then we might all be called his children.

So, we have a lot of analogies this week for who God is, and by extension who we are in relation to him.

Contemplating God and our relationship to him is an area in which we need good analogies, because the mere existence of a relationship here is hard to really wrap your head around.
Somehow, this being of infinite perfection, and power, and ability, and knowledge, and majesty, and might, who created all of the beauty of the earth and the cosmos out of nothing… has an interest in little-old-finite-me? What for?? It’s mind-boggling.

This is why we need analogies - analogies give us some insight into a thing we have no hope of understanding. For what reason might God desire to interact with me, a mere creature? No really - what for?

Because he is the cornerstone - the foundation block upon which the building of his church is built.

Because he is the Good Shepherd, and he cares for the sheep, the one who leads us to the things we need to sustain and refresh us.

Because he is our Father, and any father desires to see his children flourish under a wise guide.

As his people become ready for further revelation, it is given, and our picture of the Father becomes clearer over time.

Notice the progression of emotional context and cause for joy in success. A good stone, a good sheep, a good child. It is the difference between creating the earth and animals - and finding them to be “good” - and making man, and finding man to be “very good”. That one word that makes a world of difference.

Fatherhood is the best analogy we have for his love now, but even now - even with the instruction of the Son, we can’t fully grasp the Father’s love for us. Even that analogy isn’t without its problems, as human fathers are not capable of loving perfectly.

God’s love is entirely beyond our capacity to comprehend. And our identities are - in a way - wrapped up in that love and the desire - nay, the need - for it. But one day, when we see him in heaven, everything will snap into place and we’ll see who he is, who we are and were meant to be.

Let’s pray:
Almighty and Eternal God, who is infinite in every good thing and who teaches our hearts what it is to love and be loved, we thank you for this great gift that you have given to us.

What would our lives be without your love? How bleak and empty! Put the fire of your love in our hearts that we might love our neighbors as you love them, desire their perfection as you do, and help us to reflect that love into the world. Let others know that we are Christians by our love: by our love for you and for them.

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