May 2019

Love is…?

This is a question many grapple with.

Former Leeds University Sociology Professor, Zygmunt Bauman, has written his thoughts about our contemporary world’s view, in a book called “Liquid Love”. His thesis is that whilst people want togetherness and companionship, many don’t want the burden that comes with commitment. “Liquid love” (many feel) can flow wherever we want it to go, rather than being pinned down. Liquid love is only loosely connected to others so that we can be tied into relationships but, as it were, undo the knots, as quickly and effortlessly as possible, when we feel we would like to.

How different is Divine love – love illustrated by the Easter message in the letter to the Romans. We human beings have turned away from God and spurned His overtures. Left to ourselves we are “powerless”, “ungodly”, indeed in that old-fashioned word we are “sinners”, even “enemies” of God deserving His just judgment. Yet, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) God gave Himself, in committed, sacrificial love for the unlovely. “[Christ] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (4:25) God gave His Son and raised Him from the dead, that those who believe in Him, might be justly cleansed and made friends with Him.

Another professor (Jim Packer in his classic “Knowing God”) describes what this means for the believer.  “What matters supremely is that [God] … knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me…[or]…when his care falters. This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort…in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me. There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that he sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow humans do not see (and am I glad!), and that he sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, he wants me as his friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given his Son to die for me in order to realise this purpose.”

Matthew Brailsford

All Saints – Serving our community