September 24, 2018 – The Love of God

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may already know that I spent several years away from church. I had seen so much hypocrisy and inconsistency in the teachings of a legalistic Christianity that I eventually went in the opposite direction of anything that hinted at Jesus. There are many people who spread a message of hate in God’s name. That was not necessarily the message with which I was being hounded, although I have definitely seen that. What I experienced felt more like a conditional love. “God loves you, but if you keep being gay, God will send you to hell.” Well, no thanks. I was not interested in terms and conditions.

One of the most amazing discoveries that I have made over the past two years is perhaps one of the simplest parts of the Christian faith: God is love. God’s love for me is unconditional. God loves me just the way that God made me. There is nothing that I can do to lose God’s love, and there is nothing that I have to do to earn it.

Love permeates the teaching of the Bible, and it was the cornerstone of Christ’s ministry on earth. Now, as Christians, we are called to show Christ to the world by loving one another. There is no better example for us than God.

Jesus loves me. I know this because the Bible tells me. This Sunday, I am planning to open the service with that simple message which will then be sung by the children. Although the message is simple, the ramifications are so profound. Jesus loves me. No conditions.

The hymn “The Love of God” paints a beautiful picture of the immeasurable depth of God’s love. For the offertory, I will share a piano setting of this hymn. As you listen, meditate on the lyrics and allow yourself to relish in the love God unconditionally gives to each of us.

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave God’s son to win;
The erring child, God reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.
 
O love of God, how rich and pure,
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure,
The saints’ and angels’ song.
 
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
 
O love of God, how rich and pure,
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure,
The saints’ and angels’ song.
(Frederick Martin Lehman 1868-1953)

  • Shelton