We have started a journey to examine what I call the “trump cards” that are rooted in the theological strand that I owe the most to – that which traces its path back through the work of Martin Luther. These are an ecumenical gift. Some of them we received from those who went before us. Others we clarified or discovered in a new way and have passed them on to others. They are, I believe, universally helpful and able to be used in meaningful ways by most (maybe all) who walk in the Christian tradition.
We started with a first premise: There is no way to God (period) – that’s why it is that God has come to us.
This week we continue to build, grounding our thinking on the previous and taking it to another place. The second trump card I want to share is:
Jesus reveals that God is love and shows us the gracious nature of God. In itself, the presence of God can be good or bad news. Is the God who comes to us ultimately to be feared as wanting our destruction or to be welcomed as wanting us to live? In Jesus we discover the truth that God is love. This love is revealed to be love that is costly as shown in Jesus’ willingness to suffer and die at the cross. And it is love that is persistent as seen in the resurrection. This costly and persistent love is the content of grace. The costly and persistent nature of Christ is the basis of grace, which brings forgiveness and new life. In spite of what we may do, God always comes back again.
This is stating the obvious for many of us. But you need only watch the news, religious TV, the political alignment of various groups (including/especially many Christian ones) to know that many don’t believe this. Many believe that God is just and judge first – loving for those who respond correctly. While faith matters greatly to those who walk along the same path as I, faith does not make God love you – it helps you trust that God already does (no footnotes or exceptions clauses).!