The Source

I went to a wedding, recently, of two beautiful young people. The bride, Katy, is my wife’s goddaughter.

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I love weddings. Like most people probably, I enjoy seeing love being celebrated and of course I can’t resist a slap-up meal! This couple put on a hog roast. I’d never had a hog roast before and, although I’m not much of a carnivore (I’m no vegetarian but nor do I have the cravings that many people have for bacon sandwiches or KFC, and I’ll often go for veggie options), I have to say that the hog roast was delicious!

But it wasn’t just an enjoyable service and a quality meal. It wasn’t even just the celebration of two people committing their lives to each other with sincerity and adoration that was so special.

All those things are a justifiable source of joy, but there was a far more significant ingredient to this wedding. A fourth dimension, you might say.

These two young friends, Katy and Darach, exude the joy of an active faith in God. The service emphasised that the love they have for each other is rooted in their love for God and his love for them. The Source of their love was recognised, celebrated and worshipped.

Couples who have this 3-way relationship (i.e. with God at the centre) tend to have longer, happier marriages. As one writer put it, a cord of three strands is not easily broken. 1

He is the glue that holds Christian marriages together. His love sustains couples who pray and worship together, through the years. A common bond, stronger than any shared hobby or grudging tolerance. A love divine, filtered through human hearts, that doesn’t always prevent arguments and disagreements, but overcomes them, and selflessly gives and forgives.

At the wedding, one of the readings contained these words:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 2

Whoa, hang on! What does that mean?

Don’t Christians claim that only Christians are children of God and know God?

And yet aren’t there lots of really loving atheists, Muslims, and people of other faiths who love their partners and children generously, forgivingly, adoringly?

And don’t these words from the Bible – the Christians’ book – suggest that anyone who loves is a child of God? Not just Christians?

Have we been mis-sold the Bible’s words?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the Bible is a rather special book (or collection of books). Its words have the power to transform lives. To open up hearts to the reality and love of God. To set people free from emotional and spiritual chains.

It’s also a book of mystery, of surprise, of wonder. It’s not a text book of systematic theology. That’s one of the things I love about it. It’s like walking through a wild, picturesque, mountain scene – one of magical majesty, of inspiration, and even danger. It’s not neat, clean and tidy. Not ordered. There are hazards, twists and turns, but you wouldn’t miss it for the world.

The Bible is this incredible array of poetry, history, songs, letters, metaphors and, yes, teaching. There’s even an ancient version of Fifty Shades of Grey (Song of Songs) in there. All pointing us towards knowing this Creator, this Saviour, this Lover.

Just as the Bible contains mystery, surprise and wonder, so does God. You know what us Christians are like – we sometimes think we know God’s mind, and we write books systematising the Bible and God. Ha ha! But God won’t be tied down like that – nor will his book.

What we do find as we read through the Bible, is that it’s often the most surprising people who are closer to God than the religious people – time after time after pagan time!

An atheist who cares about his neighbour, an agnostic who loves her husband with reklentless devotion, a gay person volunteering at a homeless shelter – these may be closer to God than a ‘Christian’ who has all the ‘right’ theology but whose heart is hard and cold to the people around him.

During the wedding service, as we worshipped this Lover, I pondered the words that had been read from the apostle John’s letter, and thought about how extensively this love flows throughout our world. How this love turns up in the most surprising places.

And yet this love is not always recognised. People let it slip through their fingers – before their eyes. They may dismiss it. They may be afraid of it. They may not recognise it as God, as Jesus. Perhaps they think that religious people are hypocrites, so why bother with it? Or they may say ‘it’s just not for me’.

Others, like Katy and Darach, recognise this love as Jesus. They follow him. They hold on to the Source of love, and let him hold on to them.

They worship him, they receive his Spirit. He will keep their love alive. He will enable them to overcome their disagreements that will inevitably arise. He will heal the difficulties in their relationship that will undoubtedly come their way. His love will enable them to laugh, to cry, with each other and with others. His love will cause their love to grow. Because he is the Source.

One final thought…

Towards the end of the Address, the preacher (whose first name was Israel – great name , eh?) began to say, “I don’t know what you think about Christianity….”

And I thought, “OK, he’s going to appeal directly to non-Christians – that’s good, but I hope he’s not going to be too long or cringe-worthy”.

What he said was this: “God loves you just as you are, and he wants you to come to him”. That was it. That was all. The one sentence. Finito. End of Address.

Have you ever heard such a brief gospel!! Imagine Billy Graham addressing thousands of people at some big stadium, after months of planning and preparation, and all he says is:

“God loves you just as you are, and he wants you to come to him”.

You can imagine the organisers fretting and stressing. “What, is that it?!!” We’ve booked this stadium for that?!!

“God loves you just as you are, and he wants you to come to him”.

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

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1. Ecc 4:12

2. 1 John 4:7-8

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2 thoughts on “The Source

  1. Reblogged this on rojnut and commented:

    Re-posted with photos…

  2. […] a sometimes dark world – in both surprising and unsurprising places (as I described previously in The Source). […]

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