One of the things I love about seminary is the flood of resources offered by professors through the sections of recommended readings located in the syllabi we collect. Currently, I am reading a profound book by Glen Harold Stassen entitled A Thicker Jesus: Incarnational Discipleship in a Secular Age.
In chapter nine, we are reminded that in sin we replace God with some other source, rather than living into the presence of God. However, we can find both compassion and confrontation within the Cross of Christ. Charles Taylor understands the cross as bringing healing to the split and the alienation that human sin creates between us and God. This healing comes through God’s entering into the heart of our resistance.
In reading this, I am reminded of our confession and pardon we offer during communion, “we confess that we have not loved you (God) with our whole heart”. We have been resistant against God’s love; we have placed barriers against loving God and loving others. But hear the good news! We can be freed for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Taylor says, “God’s initiative is to enter, in full vulnerability, the heart of the residence, to be among humans, offering participation in the divine life. The nature of the resistance is that this offer arouses even more violent opposition…Christ’s reaction to the resistance was to continue loving and offering a healing reconciliation. This love can go to the very heart of things, and open a road even for the resisters”.
This week, I have challenged myself to recap our confession in a personal context. If you feel so led, I invite you to join me in this prayer to remember God’s Grace Wooing God’s people into a full relationship with God and one another.
Prayer: God, I have not loved you with my whole heart, I have failed to obey you, I have not done your will, I have broken your law, I have rebelled against your love, I have not loved my neighbors and I have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive me; free me for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.