Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Advent #3: God Invites Us into Love

As I've been writing and preaching, God's purpose in Creation was to invite us into his love: his intimate circle of sharing, adoration and eternal peace. Humans, having the power of choice, decided to choose the unhealthy and destructive attitude of self-will. Instead of

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

We Have Seen God!

God is immaterial -- he's not made out of anything. We physical ones can't grasp immaterial things with our five senses, so we have no hope of seeing God as he is. Except for one supremely important matter:

Advent #2: God Shows Us His Love

Last time I wrote that "God Is Love," that he is one God in three eternal Persons, and he desires to share his love with us. His plan, from the beginning, was to create a physical universe with physical, relational people who would be invited into his eternal embrace of love. But how would an immaterial God invite these physical, material people, into his love in real terms of intimacy, since he is so different from his creation? 'Houston, we have a problem!" But with God, there are no insurmountable problems -- just incredibly beautiful solutions. Here's this one:

The Son of God would become flesh:  truly one of us, with our weaknesses and our needs, suffering as a human from hunger, thirst, fatigue, and temptation; and even subject to death like we are. That's what religious scholars call "incarnation" -- becoming flesh. But because the Son is God, he didn't become non-God; he added humanity to his divinity, without weakening himself but also still fully and completely becoming human. This is a wonder, and one of the most breathtakingly daring and beautiful actions we could imagine.

The Son of God descended from heaven to become human, so that humans could ascend to heaven and live eternally with God. Eugene Peterson's The Message translation says "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood" in John 1:14.  He came and was fully united with us; he ate our food, drank our water, had to make a living and pay bills, and everything else, just like us. He didn't keep himself back from us because he was King of the Universe; he showed us his love by becoming one of us.

Jesus showed us the love of the Father by his teaching, his kindness and mercy and gentleness, forgiving even those who were torturing him on the Cross (Luke 23:34). And in fact, his self-giving on the Cross, as a sacrifice for us, to take death away and join us instead to his resurrection, is the central example of the love of God.

Because of Jesus, there can be no doubt God loves us extravagantly. He laid down everything for us, including comfort and safety and peace and position, in order to join us and show us love. Jesus, our Savior, is indeed our supreme example of love; and his love in us is what makes it possible for us to love others as he loved.

Can you love someone extravagantly, this Christmas season?