Friday, December 18, 2009

Because God Loved This World

I got up this morning with one thought in my head. It was a throw back to my years in Sunday School, VBS, camp, etc. In my head a pack of children still scream it out boldly and confidently,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” – John 3:16, NRSV

At this point I feel that I deserve a cookie, or a piece of candy. We at least got a gold star. Not only can I still recite this at the top of my lungs, I can think about it a billion years later.

It is really the first part that is catching me. Why did He do it? Why would the sovereign God of the universe, in perfect relationship offer His own self, send part to us? This baby Jesus that we are celebrating, during this season, came from one basic characteristic so much a part of the Father that it undergirds each divine manifestation…He loved the world.

Ok, think bigger than faithful women bloggers; think bigger than our families gathering around dinner tables this holiday. Think bigger than the Christmas lights on the block. Think of the man that I met walking into the doctor’s office to borrow the microwave. He was homeless, also the biggest patriot I have met. He came back from Vietnam only to live an impossible life, but he was home. I wonder where he will spend Christmas, or if he knows this God who loves the world; this world that they share.

What about the girl who was not able to make it to church anymore because her addiction took that piece of her time? Oxycotin became her companion, slowly closing the door on freedom. I wonder where she will spend Christmas. I wonder if she still believes that Jesus can perform a miracle.

God loves this world. We spend so much time fighting to get out, and look what He did to get in. We resign to being in it and not of it. We proclaim that, and wave our flags of difference, all the time using this difference to serve as a barrier of participation. We were sent into the world, but this world is scary. It is dangerous. God loves this formidable place.

This baby we celebrate was sent simply because of love. Babies are made out of love all of the time. We get a glimpse of this relationship from that heavenly shadow of our own experience; but sending a child into this scary and dangerous world to seek out the drug addicts, the homeless, the murderers, the thieves and the rude is just what He was born to do. This is a different love.

“Christ belongs to the wicked and the good. Christ belongs to both only as sinners, which means as those who, in their wickedness and in their goodness, have fallen away from the origin. Christ calls them back to the origin so that they may no longer be the wicked and the good, but justified and sanctified sinners.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics

I just wrote a post for Exemplify’s devotional channel about this coming year (click here to read). I have felt a burden to attend to the way of the Lord into my heart. I want to herald Him into my heart, to make the banner one of affiliation instead of difference.

This means that I have to engage my feet, to be involved in the work of Christ in a new way. It is all wrapped up in one statement, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son”. I do not need to do it because my church supports it, or it makes me feel good. I need to go back to the origin of me, of us. I am a sinner. Because God loves the collective sinner and the individual sinner, He sent His Son.

This year, I want to be involved in His work because I share the burden of love for this world.

Father, give me courage to be like you, look like you. Let me share your burden for this world and call me into your service where you see fit. Give me love for the things that I cannot understand, and feet that will carry me into your work.

Do you feel called to something new this year?

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful Tracy -- I just love it. Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking post about the love of our Savior. My heart just can't comprehend it. I feel ready for this new year -- for the first time in a looong time! I have fresh purpose and vision from the Lord. It feels good!


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