The JBU is meeting this month for its 173rd General Assembly under the theme, “Keeping Faith with the Word in an ever-changing World - Embracing the Mystery”. In my reflection on the theme and in keeping with the social focus for this month which is love, because of Valentine’s Day, I thought we could focus on the mystery of Redeeming love. It is no doubt that this is a mystery to be embraced, the fact that God could love the unlovable, the unfaithful and the unlovely.
It is a mystery, because God does what confuses and confounds our mind and our thoughts, because God does not think like us and vice versa, and God’s ways and God’s interaction with humanity are totally beyond our imagination. The bottom line in all this and fortuitously for humanity is that
God acts contrary to our expectation and value system for our benefit, our good and our redemption, hence Redeeming love.
So the theme, Redeeming love is demonstrated in many places in the Bible especially in the Old testament and confirmed in the New Testament in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Redeeming love,
“is the love that thinks only of the welfare of the person loved, it considers their shortcomings and does not hold it against them, it sees their helplessness and has only one intention to restore their true dignity and worth without expecting anything in return.” (Quoted from CFT sermon, Edwards).
This love as I further elaborated is unconditional, unchanging and unlimited. These thoughts were based on one of the Old Testament stories recorded by the prophet Hosea. Hosea’s relationship with his wife Gomer was used as an object lesson of how God demonstrates his love for people
whom he love, who rejects him for other lovers and how he goes out and finds them, redeems them (buy them back) so he can continue the relationship with them.
This is presented to show the depth of God’s love for God’s children and offered as a model for our love for God and one another. But honestly, do we see ourselves loving like this? Would we continue loving someone who promised their undying love to us, persons for whom we make sacrifices, and who brings joy to our lives, who then suddenly abandons us for somebody else? Many of the persons I speak to about this, say they would not even consider trying to win back this person, because it would be difficult for them to trust them again, and furthermore, it would take them a long time to get over the betrayal.
Whereas humanity’s thoughts are not surprising, we cannot but marvel at how God demonstrates redeeming love. God is willing to forgive us and take us back, having been disobedient, rebellious and wayward. This is a mystery of the faith we need to embrace, and remain anchored to, in an
everchanging world. How can we practice redeeming love in a world where there are so many distortions of love? I would never say this is easy, but I can say it is possible, especially if we are prepared to accept God’s redeeming love for ourselves, then this could transform the way we love
others, the way we think about them and behave towards them.