As a prepared for the lecture I plan to give tomorrow (“Love and the Question of God”), I was struck by a quote I intend to use. Some of us have a hard time and we wonder if God cares about us, and some of us seem to have it easy and we feel guilty about that. So, I simply wanted to share the quote with you and hope it helps you in whatever state you find yourself:
God wills our highest good. But we cannot attain our highest good as isolated individuals. We exist in relation to God primarily, and secondarily we depend on the whole creation and other human beings for our lives and personal identities. And we can experience the highest good, which is perfect fellowship with God, only in fellowship with the whole creation. Each of us plays a part in God’s story with the world. Some of those parts are short, some long, some painful, some mostly happy, some relative easy, and some very hard. From within life and from the perspective of the individual, life does not seem fair and God seems to love some more than others. But from the perspective of the end and the whole history of creation, God loves each person perfectly—and equally. God loves the whole world in each person, that is, God blesses the whole world by using each individual to bring something to the whole that makes it complete. And God loves each person by loving the whole world, that is, each individual will experience the whole good God makes of the whole. And in the end, all converge and each gets what has been given to all (A Course in Christianity, p. 48).
Be at peace. Rest in God’s love even when you feel you are not being treated fairly. The story is not over.
What an interesting talk this topic must have made!
Here are a couple of quotations from popular films that may show two kinds of love:
Eric Lyddle in ‘Chariots of Fire’, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure… but I cannot run on a sunday”. Papa in ‘The Shack’, “When all you see is your own pain, you lose sight of Me!”
Who hasn’t been there at ThanksGiving Dinner and looked at someone elses’s plate and either said or thought “huh! They’ve got more turkey and cranberry than me!” Be honest now folks.
Our lives are much like a playground, where most people posture and fight for attention from the one we hold most dear. God knows this and I am certain that He understands, though He cannot like it. When I was four I had flooded the bathroom taps and the ceiling downstairs was bowing under the strain. My mother ran in and drained the sinks, and was not at all best pleased (i don’t remember what she said straightup, it wasn’t the first time I did it, if I ‘m honest) but afterwards she would not look at me. With tears in my eyes I asked her “mummy don’t you love me?”. She turned quickly with tears in her eyes and declared ” Honey- be assured that I will always love you, and I do love you- I just don’t like you very much at the moment!”
The subject of love is not easy then. What sort of love should we be talking about when we involve God in the question? The gospel according to Jim Carey in ‘Bruce Almighty’ contains a wonderful, and accurate observation on ‘God’s’ two main rules (with respect to our Lord), he says these are, i) ” You cannot make someone (anyone) love you”. And, ii) ” You cannot mess with Free Will”. Bruce then asks ” Lord, can I ask you why these are two important rules” and Morgan Freeman as god answers “Why yes you can!”. Not theology I know but worth thinking about I feel. Serious learning, and a loving sense of humour all in one. See the ministers’ manual of sermons. Perhaps it is flippant to make light of love, but it was my intention to focus on ‘love’ as a good thing. Forgive me if you think we should focus on the ‘don’t have it’ side. Can we stay up beat?
Lets close with St. Paul shall we? Have a look at Phillipians 2:1-5. And remember that Christ sits next to you at that Thanksgiving dinner, and when you moan and complain, He gives his portion not begrudgingly, but with His Divine unconditional love. Can you really do the same in Christian love? A tough question isn’t it? And then see Romans 13:8-10. I wish everybody that same love, and believe that if we aspire to love Christ on this earth, then in the end, as Ron clarifies, ‘all will be well’ and we will be properly fit for the unending perfect love (Love Divine All Loves Excelling) that God seeks to reclaim in our spirit and soul.
Here’s a poem about love inspired by Galations 5. And written by a 10 year old. If you like it, please use it freely.
“Love is patient, love is kind, Never boastful, never blind! Love is gentle, love is good, Doing all the things we should. Love is faithful, peaceful and true; God’s eternal Joy just for you! But most of these, love is forgiving, Ever loving, and in all ways Giving.”
Please don’t post my last email because I got carried away with love, and didn’t answer the question. The technical answer is Yes, but tending to a definite ‘No’. All depending upon where and who you are.
Jesus did not come to save the converted, but to preach to ‘them others’. In this sense, the expenditure of love in a fleshly sense will be much greater. And similarly, those people who are possessed of a faith (that varies considerably) will be in need of love to varying degrees. This does not suggest a different amount of intended love, but refers to the practical aspect of loving in itself! Some folks will always take alot of loving, whereas with others it is easy.
Once in heaven, Divine Love is uniform and totally impartial, however, Jesus does try to explain with His comment on JTB that there are very different jobs in the Kingdom, when the disciples were arguing about this same topic. “John the Baptist may be the greatest ever upon earth, but he is less than the least in the Kingdom of Heaven”. And so there is a case for differences.
A famous theologian puts it like this ” grace varies through faith, and while the race to heaven is simply one or lost; there will always be those who cling to a floating log in order to cross the crystal sea, while others sail over on a yacht, and jump off at the heavenly harbour, scarcley noticing the choirs of angelic hosts.” Well put.
And lastly, Jesus focuses on this question of fleshly love in His parable of the Prodigal Son. I beleive that while we think there is a significant difference between the behaviour of the wayward son, and the begrudging son- both are sinners and in a state of Total Depravity, like us (whether we admit it to ourselves or God). Jesus rightly, draws our attention to the winning of the race, and not how it is run. See Chariots of Fire.
See Romans 10:10 KJV ” Hast thou faith? Then have it before God.” Regards