In a recent article titled “Love” True Essence of God! The Enemy of Hell, my purpose was to point out that it is our own choices that will send us to Hell, if we so choose. Here, the love of God is seen as a gift open to all who seek it without cost.
How can one describe the love that God has given to us? As St. John mentioned in his first letter, “Beloved let us love one another, because love is of God; God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” 1 Jn: 4: 7, 16b.
Sometimes we need a type of image when speaking in abstract ways to those who may not comprehend hidden pronouncements about God. “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?” What can you do?” (Jn. 6: 30) Then some of the Scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” “He said to them in reply, an evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah the prophet.” (Mt. 12: 38-39).
In the Gospels of John and Matthew we see a continuous barrage demanding a visual image they can hang their belief in Jesus. Yet, these and other teachings from the Lord point to the ultimate sign that culminates on Calvary. When we read the gospel message and understand the one reason the Father sent His Son to us was to save us from eternal death. We see that Jesus never wavered in stories related to the love our Father has for his children. Do we need a sign? How about the Prodigal Son? Read the poem “The Hound of Heaven”. God is relentless in seeking out the lost sheep, searching until he finds it and places the lost sheep on his shoulders. Lord, when I was lonely and weak I saw two sets of footprints in the sand. Then when life became too much for me where were you when there was only one set? “That’s when I picked you up and carried you on my shoulders”
An image of God’s total Love: This is how much I love you as He spread out his arms and was nailed to the cross.
There is no way a human can even begin to return that image, either to another human or to God Himself. We know any amount of charity can never compare with God’s Charity. He can not be outdone in charity (love) and we can never come close to the very depth of forgiveness which is His eternal love to his creatures whom he loves with the sacrifice on the Cross of His Christ.
As we prepare for Christmas, and Lent/Easter let our question of a visible sign be the suffering that the Lord Jesus took to the cross in place of us.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Christmas 2020 / Lent /Easter 2021