Sunday, July 19, 2009

Psalm 136

I always like to reflect on sermons on Sunday, so I thought I'd start here. I'm not going to cover the whole thing, since that's already been done (much better than I ever could). Instead, I'm going to expand on some other points and apply them.

Let's start with the first point - that God loves differently than we do. We tend to understand God through our own lenses of experience, which is usually self-centered and self-referencing. I think this is why many people have problems with God or end up blaming Him for negative events in their life - because we make sense of our world, including of God, through our human perspective. I haven't ever had those experiences, but I know that I've always understood God the best that I can (instead of how He has revealed Himself) and I've talked with plenty of people who have said the same.

God's love is also always existant, or endures "to all ages." If I truly believe this, I should be able to remember it in difficult times when I feel God is distant. This is why I think David wrote so much about history - because sometimes current situations aren't providing the encouragement we need to press on, so we remember what God has done which reveals who He is. Then God's love becomes close again, not because it was ever gone but because our human nature (anxiety, doubt, blame, "fixing," etc.) had been shadowing it.

This outside-of-time, always present, and unconditional love is not about us, it's about God. His love is self-referencing. The problem comes when we try and be gods, or even replace God, we too become self-referencing. That is, we believe God's love is directed toward us because we are special creatures, or because we are somehow worthy of His love. The harsh reality is that we're not - which, as Matt said today, hurts (our pride). If we can get over that and realize the truth, the reality of the situation, we can see ourselves for we really are and God for who He is. The opportunity for healing and true fellowship with God rests in our willingness to pursue this truth, rather than our own.

Furthermore, understanding that we can never do anything to lose God's love can be life-changing. We can stop pretending, working tirelessly, and striving to earn a place in God's heart because the truth is, we're already there. God, being the greatest lover, has proven on the cross through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, that - in His own words - "it is finished." All that's left to do is rejoice and praise God!

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