Thursday, August 03, 2006

love/intimacy from God

Jesus' creed (the new Shema for the new Israel), called "the Jesus creed", tells us that to love God with all of our being and doing, and to love our fellow human ("neighbor") as ourselves is getting to the heart of and what is central to Scripture. In it we read of God's love expressed in creating, redeeming, restoring and renewing his creation. We read of God's call to a family that would become his holy nation, blessed to be a blessing to all nations on the earth. This would occur through Abraham and his seed. Paul points out that this "seed" (singular) is Christ. He would be the promised one to come, who would bruise/"crush" (TNIV) the serpent's head. Thus lifting the curse of God from his creation, and seeing his blessing come and flourish on it all. Of course while the beginning of that is here, in the present kingdom of Christ on earth, we await for its fullness when Jesus returns and the new Jerusalem comes down to earth.

Having said that, we still live in a world that experiences the blessings of God's love daily: in sunshine, health, food and drink, etc. (though let us be mindful of those who are lacking in needs). Yet few know his intimacy in their lives. The intimacy which is grounded in the love communion of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. People look for it in other things: in each other, in that ideal (from their imagination) person, even from pornography. Dangerously they may seem to have an intimacy from sources that really are impersonal and destructive. Or they may just give up, and become secluded and hard. Not knowing any intimacy in their hearts and lives.

This is where the love of God in Jesus comes in. This love is to be experienced by all humankind. And it is experienced in the heart of each individual in Jesus. And expressed to loved ones (spouse, children, family; friends), and to be expressed to all believers in Jesus, in and before this world. God's goodness in his creation of human love, though broken in us all, is experienced potentially by all people on earth- his gift to all. Though the greater love, found only in Jesus is the kind of intimacy we're referring to here.

Kathleen Norris in The Cloister Walk writes about how we need to look in our relationships, for Christ's intimacy. For us who are married, we need to find his intimacy in our spouses, and they need to find the same in us. Infatuation strikes at the heart of many, and perhaps is an early stage of "true love". But it is misleading, for intimate love must go beyond infatuation, to know and embrace the real person, warts and all. And to love them, and be loved by them with Jesus' own love.

This is in keeping with the truth that God wants us to enter into the reality of the communion of love found in the Trinity. This needs to be more and more our own practice and experience in a world that sorely needs to see and experience this love.

Jesus, Let us know your love. The love of the Father in the Son. By the Holy Spirit. To each other and to the world you died for. Amen.

2 comments:

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

Good post. I truly like the whole intimacy thing in all our relationships, especially with God. John Wesley often spoke of God's love for us in intimate ways, even prior to conversion, where he portrays God as the one who in his love gently woos us to come to him.

Ted Gossard said...

Alan,

Yes. I understand Wesley's theology in what you say as "prevenient grace". Does seem to me to reflect Scripture. And God's pathos in it. There does seem to be a tone in it of wooing and at times of lamenting over his love and blessing in covenant spurned (can't think of a better word at the moment).

Thanks.