Skip to main content

Shows up, Loves Hard


 

“Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” Ephesians 5:2 (MSG)

The older I get, the less extravagant and the more cautious I seem to get with my love.  It's as if those I love, have to pay the price of the trauma inflicted by those in my past.  Have you ever felt yourself holding back because you are afraid of getting hurt? 

Given that shared human experience, have you ever considered how amazing God's love for us is?  The prophets in the First Testament explain how the people turned their backs on God's love over and over.  God freed them from slavery but they complained.  God led them to a new land, but they destroyed it.  God provided leadership, but they wanted the oppression of a king. The people turned from God and worshiped objects made by their own hands.  They created power structures that oppressed their own people.  They went to war with each other and they took advantage of each other.  Despite all this, God continued chasing after them, continued loving without caution, continued pouring out extravagance on God's people.    

God called one prophet to live this message out, so that we could all see an example of what God's love looks like.  He called the prophet Hosea to marry a harlot named Gomer.  Hosea treasured his wife.  He cared for her, met all of her needs, and treated her like a queen.  She loved him, but her nature took over and after some time she ran off, taking many partners and living a reckless life.  Hosea finally caught up with her when she had hit rock bottom and was in great need.  He nursed her back to health, showing her great kindness and forgiveness.  Once she was well she took off again.  This cycle repeats over and over for Hosea, and God's message to us is that this is how God loves us.  

It's not just that God's love is "not cautious but extravagant", but that God has every reason to be the opposite.  We have inflicted all the trauma needed to create a cautious lover at best, yet that is not the love Christ shows us.  Then we are instructed to love like this ourselves.  If we are honest, we object saying that we can't because it's too risky, it may hurt too much.  Do you think loving like this didn't hurt God?  Do you think it didn't hurt Jesus? We don't like to think of God as the wounded lover, it makes God seem less like God and more like human, but the scriptures tell the story of wounded lover.  When the scriptures say we were created in the image of God, don't you think our soft hearts are part of the image of God?

When scripture instructs us to pick up our cross and follow Jesus, what cross did you think you were called to pick up?  We like to think this scripture is a call to outward suffering, ridicule, and even martyrdom.  I suspect because thinking like that keeps us from realizing the cross is right there waiting for you to pick up.  You don't have to wait for some special event, or life circumstance, it's there now waiting for your to bear it.  Your cross to bear is to love, and love hard, even though it will hurt.  

My wife occasionally wears a shirt that reminds me of all of this.  It fits her well because she embodies this type of love well.  It says "Shows up - Loves Hard".   May each of you find the strength to show up and love hard this week.  May you be given the strength to push past the hurt and love anyway.  May you be comforted by God when it does hurt.  God help us.  Amen.    

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Divine | Shame | Humans

Shame is often the only thing between our creator and us. Our reading this week is from Job 14:5-6: A person’s days are determined;      you have decreed the number of his months      and have set limits he cannot exceed. So look away from him and let him alone,      till he has put in his time like a hired laborer. Job is struggling with shame and judgement.  He is wondering why God is spending time paying attention to him, a tiny speck in the great universe, a blink of an eye in all eternity.  Why would God waste time casting a glance at us, let alone fostering us, raising us, and disciplining us?  He cries out "Why won't God just let us be, to live out our miserable existence?" A friend shared a post with me on Facebook this week.  It was a video of her dog who had stolen her donut.  The dog had been under the bed for two hours before she started the video.  The video begins with a clear view of the dog and the uneaten donut under the bed.  The dog casts glances from s

Justice & Privilege

The narrative lectionary reading for this week begins a 5 week series on the book of Job.  We focus on Job 1:1-12.  This first section sets the background for the parable.  It is important to note that this is clearly a parable, not a historical text.  This means we must look beyond the described events and towards a deeper meaning within the text.   The story goes like this: ___ There was once a man who thought he was good, an upright citizen, a religiously devout man.  He made good choices and avoided all forms of evil.  He was so pious that he made sacrifices in the name of his family members in case they had unknowingly sinned.  He had great wealth and privilege, and so this was evidence of his goodness.   God was so pleased with this great man, named Job, that he bragged about him to the accuser.  The accuser objected "Of course Job is good, you have provided him with wealth, power, and protection. He would curse you if he was not so privileged."  At this, God takes the

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t