Monthly Archives: September 2018

Stopping the Tide

What do you think of rhetorical questions? It’s OK, you don’t have to answer that.

But some rhetorical questions seem worth exploring…

For instance, in our church we sing a line that goes:

Who can stop the Lord Almighty?

The unspoken answer, of course, reinforced by the description of God as ‘Lord Almighty’, is ‘NO ONE’. But….

As we sing that song, my mind, being the obtuse creature that it is, wanders off in a different direction.

I start to consider how God is defined not so much by ultimate power or control, but as the ultimate source of love.

…and how ultimate love is always, inevitably, expressed in vulnerability.

In self-appointed powerlessness.

This is one of the things that make the Christian gospel (good news) so appealing. According to Christianity, the life and death of Jesus, in loving weakness, reveals the clearest expression of the character of God.

God’s powerlessness in the manger, wholly dependent on a young mum for all his needs.

A chosen lifestyle of relative poverty as an itinerant preacher and healer, again voluntarily dependent on human help for his everyday needs, as he carried out his divine calling.

And ultimately, naked and bleeding on the cross, helpless and hurting, exposed to the world, with no one to rescue him.

Who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Turns out, the Romans and the Jews can. In fact all of us can, as people responsible for his crucifixion. Because, in love, God chose powerlessness, in order to identify with our suffering. To absorb all the pain we cause ourselves and others.

Who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Every day the forward movement of Love and Compassion is hindered by humanity’s acts of injustice, cruelty and unkindness – whether to others or even ourselves!

In self-chosen weakness – the inevitable expression of Love – God allows himself to be stopped in his tracks. When we fall short of self-giving love, we stop the next step of divine grace.

To give an obvious example, God’s consistent, loving provision of food for the world’s people is just as consistently thwarted by unloving governments’ poor, unethical, cronyistic, or power-hungry handling of resources, so that swathes of the world’s population are denied the opportunity to see the full picture of grace.

Who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Turns out, governments can.

Who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Sometimes the traumas of our past seem to act as a blackout blind against the sunshine of unconditional acceptance and affirmation that God wants to stream into our consciousness.

Who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Turns out, we – or the demons of our upbringing – can.

But wait….. What, then, is this good news?

Thankfully, such human hindrance is never the final word in Christian or spiritual thought. All is not lost. The message of Christ, if nothing else, is one of hope.

That onward movement of love will have its way. In the words of Rob Bell, ‘Love wins’.

Those of us who cling to Christ (or whatever name we call him) struggle and stumble and often despise the darkness that still seems to reside within, but glimmers of light always, always appear through the cracks of our vision, opening our eyes to a wider, brighter world just up ahead, round the corner, where Love has found its fulfilment, its full expression.

For mystics, contemplatives and spiritual people, this fullness of Love is not simply some pie-in-the-sky concept to look forward to in the dim, distant future, but a tangible dimension in the present, glimpsed behind every veil in this world. For the kingdom, as Jesus said, is ‘within us’, to be found ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ when we pray or allow it to be so.

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St Leonards beach, near where I live (photo mine)

Love keeps rolling in, like an incoming tide, gently washing away our brokenness, showing us how to love others, how to overcome evil with good, hate with love, slowly breaking down barriers and bridging every gap, till love becomes all.

Who can stop the tide?

Like King Canute, our darkness, deceit and despair cannot ultimately stop the gentle progression of Love and the hope it brings.

Love will win. The kingdom, where Love reigns, is always coming closer.

What do you think? Feel free to take that as a rhetorical question (or comment below).

Blessings,

Roger

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Please read my About page to find out more about this blog.

I also have a book! Coming Home for Good is autobiographical, with themes of homelessness, spirituality and identity, and is available on Amazon. Find out more here.

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