Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
God’s Heart For Us (Audio)
The Church makes many claims about God – about who God is and what God does and what God is like—and the biggest claim of all, the one that is at the core of all its claims is that God is love—above all else, God is love.
We sing songs and hymns about the God of love—we pray to the God of love—we are called to offer the gift of ourselves to the God of love—and then we dwell in Matthew’s Gospel reading (5:21-37) which speaks about God’s Law.
Are these really the words from the God of love, words from the very heart of God made flesh, Jesus? Well, yes, they are. We read a section of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus had gathered with his disciples near the Sea of Galilee and began to teach them how He came to fulfil all that He was telling them.
Now we all know the joys of listening to the sounds of the heart—we have perhaps felt, even heard the sound of our own hearts beating in excitement. Our heart is the centre of our personality—”Heart” means the core of ourselves in all our most vibrant aspects—we talk about the human heart as the centre of loving, of compassion, or tenderness, of courage.
But while God’s heart sings out a love song, begun in creation and is sung to us every day, our hearts so often fall far short of singing a love song back to God, or to others.
And so, in God’s mercy, God gives us the law—the teachings of Jesus—and this law will not let our hearts fall short of loving as God would have us love—it’s a law that would have us love in a way that respects the dignity of every human being—as reflected elsewhere in the Scriptures—and it’s a law that ultimately convicts us, because what it demands of us, we cannot achieve.
And here again the law shows us God’s love—for when He shows us our failings it is meant to drive us into His merciful arms. Discovering our failure to love as God loves is not a cause for despair—rather, it’s a call back to God, into the arms of Jesus, who loves and strengthens us, and sends Holy Spirit to us to lead us to love again.
The sound of our hearts and the sound of God’s heart are different—but they’re meant to sing the same song—so we are given the law that we might know more completely how to love—and when we fail—because we do fail—we are given the key to God’s heart—Jesus our Saviour and Holy Spirit our Sanctifier.
God’s heart is the key to the vast treasure of God’s mercy that stands ready for us to receive and use—the key to a heart that offers us true joy—true love—true grace—true mercy—true forgiveness—all because our God is a God of love—and in that we can be sure—for it comes to us in and through Jesus and Holy Spirit, for us to give to others.
Pr. Wayne Kerber
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