Study Series: Crazy Love – Chapter Three
I’ve been talking about the Moon a lot lately. Partly due to the fact that I’m a bit of a geek and it’s 40 years since Man landed on the moon and that kind of thing excites me, and partly because an inordinate amount of my (former) friends seem to think that it didn’t happen. That it was all a big hoax. They are ‘not conspiracy theorists‘ they will squawk; they just think this one conspiracy theory is true.
It is driving me nuts.
I can tell them over and over again of the truth of Armstrong’s first steps. I can discount every theory they throw out – the moving flag, footprints, converging shadows etc., etc., – none of which are convincing and all of which are easily explained. When I have expounded all the logic and reason that I can possibly muster, I am left exasperated by the fact that they still don’t grasp it.
(Some people may pause here and think the last paragraph to be awfully conceited, but that is just because they are wrong and need to amend their opinion).
We see a similar thing in Church all the time. A week will not go by without God’s love for us being mentioned in a service or conversation (and rightly so), expounded and explained in so many ways, yet so often we really miss what this means. What is the true extent of this love? What does it mean for the infinite, almighty Creator to love me so? How should I respond to this?
This is where we found Francis leading this week. We finally reached the titular chapter of the book as Francis began to move into describing this love. He pointed to the Biblical image of God being a Father to us and told us of his own stuggle in relating to that because of his relationship with his earthly father. I’ve come across many people for whom this has been a major issue in their understanding of who God is. Their parental relationship transplants its effects upon their relationship with God the Father. This is surely a stark warning to all fathers and future fathers out there; your relationship with your child should mirror something of the relationship between God and Man. Your love for them should point towards God’s love for them.
For those who still struggle with this, I would encourage you to press on in this area. It may be that your idea of a father does not look much like a loving God, but God clearly shows us what a loving Father should look like. He calls Himself Father, and then shows what that means for those that don’t have a reference point. Read in the Gospels of his relationship with Jesus and His love for you. See the lengths and depths he is willing to go to to call you home.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. We read and recite those words from John 3:16 so often without even stopping for a moment to pause to consider the magnitude of this statement. In the DVD this week, Francis talked about the moment in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus, Son of God, pleads with his Father for there to be another way (than the cross). Francis pointed to the horror he would feel if his own son was pleading with him so. Yet there could be no other way, and God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.
That moment both devastates me and fills me with joy. I wish that Jesus did not have to go through that for me. I wish that the Father did not have to see his Son that way. But knowing my desperately lost situation without it, I am glad that he chose the cross in order to in order to save me.
This week, Francis posed two further questions for discussion at the end of the DVD. I invite you to share your thoughts;
1. When was the first time you really ‘got it’. The moment that you really grasped what Jesus meant when he said ‘God so loved the world’.
2. What can you do this week to remind your friends of the cross; the ultimate display of love from a holy God.