Sunday, September 04, 2011

Plentiful: The Taste of the Gospel

Something about tight-fistedness, smallness, monotony, lack of progress, lack and loss of life grates against us. It feels out of place. Not proof in themselves of how things are meant to be, but a hint engraved on our hearts that this world isn't meant for frustration.

The story validated by the historical life, death and resurrection of Jesus is different. Tracking backwards it says the Triune God created a world in which there is fruitfulness and multiplication, in which emptiness is filled by beings who will spread outwards. The love of the generous Father is like this. A fountain of life, flowed from the hills of Eden and from the heart of the Father to his Son and to the world. He gives his son, and he gives the Spirit. He gives and goes on giving.

When people curve in on themselves he comes out to them, and keeps on coming. And when he wins their hearts he turns them inside out so they cease to overflow with sewage and begin to overflow with spirit-filled life. When invitations are refused the word goes out to the highways and byways, always reaching, always drawing, always inviting, always embracing. In love he stands waiting and looking for the irreligious and climbs the hillside to plead with the religious - longing to embrace them that they might enjoy his joy. The love of God overflows and overflows.

His ways are not neat and calculated, his steadfast love is not dispassionate and measured, the gospel is not a mathematical formula to fix things. His salvation is not merely a functional rescue but relational welcome. Salvation is not a pill or a pass or pattern for living that he gives us, for he gives us himself. To know, and to know more. To fill us and fill us more. When we speak of the gospel we mean the news which needs words yet struggles to find words wonderful enough to express the heart of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Plentiful is an adjective meaning existing or yielding great quantities; abundant: as in 'the wine is plentiful'. A gospel word.

O Israel, hope in the LORD!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
Psalm 130:7

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