I often encounter people who lament that God seems just to far away. In their growing years through the childhood lessons of life, God became a distant being who sits in the heavens and watches. Other people feel as if God has left the building, and a terrible void is left leaving them to search for connection, any kind of connection, that will fill that space with something. As science reminds us nature abhors a vacuum, so the space does get filled, but with what? Maybe the space gets filled with generosity or love of a spouse, or kids, but often the space can becomes filled with actions that cause harm, like abuse and addictions. The pain of the void and distance is so great that people reason, anything is better than nothing, right? The love for which they so desperately desire seems unobtainable, distant, and untouchable.
I admit that I too have struggled in my life with this to degrees. I believe that most people would also agree that they too have struggled in this way. This is not woman problem, or a man problem, or a specific struggle for one particular group of people, based on race, or sexual identity. This is a human problem. This feeling of being disconnected from something that is real and something that matters effects all people, and as I Christian I understand that this problem rest profoundly with the concept of sin. Now let me clear, I define sin as anything that breaks relationships between God and people, and people with each other. Sins are the things that disconnect, shatter, and pull people apart, and our reality is that we our surrounded each day with many instances of being pulled apart, from technology, to arguments, road rage, and failure to communicate, disconnections are possible all around us, both on the large scale, murder, and on the small scale, a white lie.
Yes, these things are part of our existence. The disconnection effect our existence in some very raw and real ways. But I ponder with you here today, does not love also effect us in the powerful and raw ways? Can you imagine with me, just for a moment that love is the antidote to the disconnections we feel? Can you invest a moment into believing that love draws us back to connected states?
One of the most well know passages in the bible comes from the Gospel of John. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
The center of re-connection, the center of renewal is wrapped up in the word love. God did what God did because God loves God’s creation. God has compassion for that which he claims as his, the world and everything in it. It is through this love that God establishes a renewed relationship with God’s people. It is through love that the towers of our lives, are reconnected to be in relationship.
Now, if it is love that creates the bridge of hope and renewal between God and God’s people, then shouldn’t we also say, Yes, it is love that will connect us with our neighbor? Shouldn’t we believe that love becomes the outward expression of generosity, offering mercy, forgiveness, and grace? Shouldn’t we seek desperately to love God and to love our neighbor? Yes, we should, and live into the the freedom to be connected with one another in new and vibrant ways.
Love connects. Sin divides. Live freely in love. Invest in love. The love of God and love of neighbor.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God. The Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this. Love you neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. (Jesus the Christ, year 31-32 AD, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:29, Luke 10:27.)