Opening THE Book 11 with Rev John K-S
8th February 2019
as published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine
Rev John Kinchin-Smith
Assistant Minister, St Andrew’s Church
Imagine you are a parent and you see your child getting into the most terrible and distressing mess – something, I guess, all parents experience at one time or another to greater or lesser degree. What do you do? Well, sometimes there’s nothing that you can do. You just live with a broken heart. But won’t you try anything to rescue your child?
God’s like that when he looks at our world and sees the wars, the poverty and hunger, the greed and oppression, the suffering of his children. Because one thing the Bible teaches us from the very beginning is that God loves his world and all of his children so very much. The Books of the Prophets in the Old Testament constantly tell us of God’s own broken heart. Although the words were mostly spoken to the people of Israel, they are also spoken to us. Read, for example, Hosea chapter 11 verses 1-4, 8-9. (The Books of Prophecy begin with Isaiah and end with Malachi)
And God’s heart is doubly broken because all of those terrible things in the world are the result of our own failure to love God and to live according to his laws and commandments. They are the natural consequences, just like the natural consequences of drinking too much alcohol or falling from a cliff. All of that was made very plain earlier on, for example in the Books of Leviticus chapter 26 or Deuteronomy chapter 28
“Then why” you might ask “doesn’t God make us love him and obey him?” But would that be “love”? If love is true love, mustn’t it be freely given? If God made us love him, where would be our free will? “Well it’s obvious, then”, you might reply, “we just have to choose to love and obey God and everything will be all right!” Hmmm! Really? Try it! So what did God do?
Because it’s Easter this month, I’m going to jump ahead into the New Testament to find the answer. In the Letter to the Romans chapter 5 we read, “God has shown us how much he loves us in this: it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us. By his death we are now put right with God. ...How much more (then) shall we be saved by Christ’s life!”
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