The Splendour of Love
How do you truly see God? When you say ‘Lord’ what is the underlying image that comes to mind?
So often these images can bring up ideas and associations that are far from who God is, associations that we don’t necessarily recognise. ‘Lord’, for instance, can bring very human ideas of who/what a Lord is and does. Someone who rules, who has authority, who can tell us what to do and order our lives. Someone who is greater than us, better than us and who we cannot aspire to.
Isn’t this true of God? Yes, but… not exactly. They are also very human images, taken from human ways of ruling, often outdated forms of society that still exist in our communal unconsciousness. Think of the gospels, of how Jesus acted …
Read Luke 22:24-27; Mark 6:34; Luke 15; Matthew 18:1-4; John 15:1-17.
The underlying image of ‘Lord’ can be of someone who can order our lives, down to the minutest detail, who exacts tribute and who could annihilate us if we don’t meet a certain standard. Which is far from being who God is; it is not the Jesus the gospels show us.
We do follow a God who has authority; we follow the creator of heaven and earth, who is glorious and who we cannot aspire to. We do not need to; for he came down to us (read Philippians 2:5-11). God’s authority is not as human authority, but one of total love.
For we follow a God who is one yet three, three in one. We worship a God of love, for whom love is the essence of who Trinity is. We can say so easily ‘God is love’ without taking in the full import of those words. Love is who God is, Love is God.
God’s glory, God’s splendour is love; is in drawing all to love, not in being exalted over us. God longs for us to come to partake of that love, not because we deserve it, but because God is love, because Jesus came down to live, work and die amongst us, because he rose again, and draws all. The Spirit works among us to help us draw that love ever deeper into our being while going out to spread that knowledge, that love far and wide, amongst those we know and those we don’t.
We do worship a God who has authority over us; the authority of love; the authority of one who came and gave all to show us how much we are loved. The authority, the love that deserves nothing more than a total response of love back from us. A love that knows we will take a lifetime in learning that, and rejoices in the process. A Lord who is among us as one who serves, not a Lord who wants to repress us; a Lord who shows us how to become our true selves, not one who wants us to enhance a ‘Lordship’ that does not need enhancing; a Lord who is three in one and longs for us to see that we, too, are not separate beings but interdependent parts of creation; a Lord who is continually bringing us back to Love.