“God loves us when we are good. God loves us when we are bad. Consider this from Isaiah 54:10, “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but my lovingkindness will not be removed from you.” Did you catch the force of that? His lovingkindness will not be REMOVED from you -it’s there for you, always there. As Peterson renders Jeremiah 31:3b in The Message: “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love”. Just like being under the explosive immersive Victoria Falls, God’s love will fall on you, soak and saturate you in his torrents of grace. You will be inundated with grace.
God is love and love that stoops is called GRACE. Grace is love come down. When my boys were smaller, I lived in a different world to them. If they were to know my love, I had to go down to their world … so I got on the floor and wrestled with them, I read them stories, and I went to places and watched films (Flinstones being an all time low!) I would not have chosen left to my adult choices. This is how God loves us - he loves like a dad, but a perfect dad, and not like a king. (Though, please don’t get me wrong: he is the brightest and best and most marvellous of kings.) God came down to our level that we might be lifted up to his. He came down precisely because he wanted to be with us, and he did so to lift us and love us into health and blessedness and peace and joy and love and freedom. God loves us with an unfailing, everlasting, new-every-morning kind of love, which will never run out, or tire, or become enfeebled through use.
Do you know this? Really know this? The Law doesn’t and can’t love us. Though the Law is pleasing, good and perfect, it cannot manufacture love. Instead, it reveals our glaring need of a lover. Folk prefer law - you and I prefer Law unbelievably - we want rules not relationship - we are fearful - we like to control everything - we prefer things to be manageable, watertight and controllable. Oh, but religion cannot give us what we are looking for - our hungry hearts to be satisfied that we never hunger again, and our restless souls at peace for all eternity that we need never be fretful again. Religion cannot give us what religion doesn’t have.
Because God is Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, face-to-face, God is love. Because God is love, love is the supreme value of our lives and the universe as a whole. Love is the meaning of our lives for we are created in God’s image. Nothing makes us as fully human, as fully happy, as fully fulfilled as love - love is inscribed in our very design, our skin, blood, cells, organs, bodies, souls and spirits. Cats are not happy living as dogs - and we are not happy living away from the beating heart of God and his love.
Do you remember the story Augustine tells of a young boy at a beach scooping up the ocean, thimbleful by thimbleful? An angel appears to him and tells him that he will have emptied the sea long before he gets to the end of God’s love. You see, his love, his grace can never be exhausted - because he himself is limitless. His love is the shoreless sea we are destined to swim in and surf for all eternity. Alleluia!
I want you to think for a moment - it will be worth it, I promise you.
In the beginning, the very beginning, before time and the universe began, before anything had yet come into existence… Well, God in his Triune Being had no need whatsoever. Father, Son and Holy Spirit were not bored, or alienated from each other. They had no lack, no want at all. What one thought, all thought; what one wanted, all wanted. There was no need of explanation.
So now think about this. In John 1:1 we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Tell me, what are words? The dictionary defines them as follows: “meaningful elements of speech that aid communication and reveal thoughts and emotions.” Quite.
Now why does the Trinity need that? FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT DON’T - they communicate with each other perfectly. Nothing was hidden or lay beneath the surface. Oh, get this, and fall in love with God - the Second Person of the Trinity is called the Word for this one reason only: that the Trinity might communicate with humans - you and me included - that humans might know for themselves the deep love that exists within the Trinity itself. The Word became flesh because in bone and blood God wanted to tell us, to convey to us this thought: “You are simply the most precious thing in the world to me. In all possible worlds I would love you. I will give up my whole world for you that you may be where I am, and know what I know. You are the centre of my life, my heart, my mind. I designed you not to perish - you are not rubbish - but to share the fellowship, the camaraderie that has eternally existed between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
“Of our flesh, and of our bone/Jesus is our Brother now,/And God is all our own.” (C Wesley) In becoming human, the Son of God did NOT assume a costume he would later take off, but he became a man for all time, uniting divinity and humanity for ever.”