“Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He longs for our presence. And he is inviting you and me to come home, to come home to where we belong, to come home to that for which we were created.” – Richard Foster
I was lied to growing up in the church. Can you relate? Most of the sermons and teaching I remember hearing agreed with the same themes I heard in side conversations around the pews and the whispers in the hallways. The theme that dominated my early construct of who this mysterious God was and what he was like was that he was mad at me. He was disappointed in my lack of ‘having it together’, he was ashamed of my worldly ways, he condemned my thoughts and my questions as rebellion against his holiness. If and when I got my act together, then I could have a seat at the table if I behaved. God was the judge and he wasn’t pleased with me.
This was a God who was distant, far away, untouchable by the untouchables. Religion is a box of shame.
This construct simply was a lie meant to control and keep God at a distance. This is not at all the God I have come to know and be known by. The reality of Christmas, the theme of Advent, is an aching of God to overcome all barriers and connect with His creation again. Here is the Gospel of Advent . . . Here is the good news of Christmas . . . Here is the Truth . . . God is not mad at us, He just misses us! He literally does not want to live without us. THIS is the theme of Immanuel, ‘God with us’ because he doesn’t want to be without us.
He aches over our distance and HE closed the distance. He’s not asking us to meet him halfway, He went the whole way. He’s asking us to stop running, to stop and turn into His love. His love is like the warmth of a crackling fire with your stocking on his mantle with YOUR name on it. You are welcome at His table, You quite simply belong to Him and He can’t and won’t live without you, THAT is why He came.
He’s not mad, He just misses you. He aches for you. Stop and notice Him today. Be embraced, stop running, find your home there. This is not religion, this is Kingdom Come.
I’m going to be writing on this theme for the season of Advent this 2017, come along for the journey.