Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Together with all the saints



I'm not the only one starin' at the sun
Afraid of what you'd find if you took a look inside...


Yesterday I copied these words, taken out of (the context of) a U2 song, on this blog. I was looking for some astronomical information about the sun, because I needed a metaphor to describe the loneliness and insignificance of human beings in the light of an eternal God. And the words of this song that I love - Staring at the Sun - came to my mind.

God is a consuming fire. He is so awesomely great that we are completely humbled just by considering his eternal existence, his endless power and the inaccessible light of his being. We can not approach him, because he is completely out of our reach. We can not picture him, because he is totally out of our sight. We can not fully appreciate him, because our minds and souls are not able to comprehend him. We are clueless, helpless, lost. We need a revelation.

We long to be loved. We didn't create this desire, it just welled up in us, consumed us from the inside out and confronted us with our loneliness. Hopefully we have experienced love. Human love - great affection, but always imperfect and often conditional. We want to hear that we are desired, that we belong and that we will not be left alone in the dark. Most of all we need to hear from our Maker that he loves us.

I didn't ask to be born. It just so happened. And I'm one of the lucky ones, because I was raised by loving (albeit imperfect) parents and I have no reasons to complain about the love that I receive right now from the people surrounding me. Don't worry about me, because I'm fine. But I want to be more than fine, I want to be embraced and fully accepted by God.

Aren't we all aching for pure love? We want to reach out to each other and to our Creator, but something is withholding us and this is what it is: The fear of being rejected. What if the ones that you love could have a look inside your heart – just like the U2 lyrics say? Would they still love you, accept you, praise you, admire you? And what about God – who is really able to look straight into the secret chambers of your soul – will he still accept you, love you? I believe that he does.

"It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing." (Ephesians 2:3-10 - the Message)

Human love can be close to perfect, but it will always be human. The best we can do is to accept and forgive each other's shortcomings and brokenness. And we can only do this if we dare to be honest and vulnerable ourselves. Face it. We are imperfect and incomplete, we desperately need compensation - each and everyone of us. We need other human beings to guide us, oppose us, confront us, unmask us, heal us. And we also need other people to get a better understanding of our Creator. Together with all the saints, in the company of true followers of Jesus, we will be able to grasp the immeasurable dimensions of Christ's love. We are not the only ones searching for light, love, life. We're staring at the sun together, blinded by its light, vulnerably exposed to its burning power.

If the sun stops shining right now, it will take approximately eight minutes before we will notice this down here on earth because this is the travel time needed for every ray of light from the sun to our planet. But as soon as God pulls the power plug of his love we are gone in an instant. His grace is still supporting us, even if we are not aware of it, even if we don't give him any credit for keeping us alive.

"My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:14-19 - the Message)

1 comments:

school for the girls said...

HiPaul,
Thanks for you beautiful article.

Lord's blessings