As a first time blogger, I’m not really sure where to begin. And so I guess I’ll begin with the Gospel. “God loves us. God loves the world. God became human to save the world.” It’s all really simple - it’s just not easy.
I do think that the Gospel is simple in the sense that the Gospel can be simply stated. Don’t get me wrong – there is a lot of complexity and paradox once we begin to pry into the deep mysteries of the Christian Gospel, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Gospel can be stated in fairly short sentences. “Jesus is Lord. God is good. God became human to save the world. God is bringing the entire cosmos to a glorious end.” You get the picture. Really simple.
But the Gospel isn’t easy. And the reason the Gospel isn’t easy is because the Gospel is difficult to absorb. And the reason the Gospel is difficult to absorb is because the premise behind the Gospel is actually pretty radical – God is love.
It’s easy to say that God is love. But it’s a completely different matter to absorb this truth – to allow this truth about God to descend so deeply into the core of our being that it shapes every aspect of our lives. God’s love is easy to confess. But it takes a lifetime to absorb.
I find it pretty amazing that Jesus addressed God as Abba, an Aramaic word meaning “daddy.” It’s a word of trust and tenderness. It wasn’t a popular name for God in Jesus’ Jewish milieu (and by “not popular” I mean that people would stone you). YHWH was popular. YHWH spoke of God’s holiness and otherness. But “daddy” was just a little too intimate for Jesus’ contemporaries, who refused to even pronounce God’s name. It’s not that Jesus’ fellow Jews were wrong. After all, God is holy and God is “other.” But that’s precisely why the Gospel is so difficult for us to absorb. Because this holy God, this God that is totally “other,” this God who said to Moses I AM WHO I AM, is now revealed as a tender daddy, a loving father. And it does no good to say that only Jesus can call God “Abba.” After all, he was God’s son. Jesus really did have an intimate relationship with the Father. No, that’s not an acceptable position for the disciple of Jesus, for the Gospel dares to claim that we are co-heirs with Christ and that, through him, we can experience the same intimacy with the Father that Jesus did. It’s like Paul says – “You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.” Such is why we “cry Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15). And so we too are invited to call God Abba. It’s all really simple – just not easy.
FOR TODAY: do something creative to absorb the simple truth that God is love and that we have been empowered to call God Abba. Our wiring and our world make absorbing such an intimate relationship with God really hard. It’s easy to say that God is love. But it’s a completely different matter to absorb it and to have this truth transform every aspect of our life.