You might recall the famous B.J. Thomas classic...."Hooked on a feeling, high on believin'" song from back in the 60s. Well I guess tonite I'm hooked on a scripture that keeps bumping around my head. I'm referring to a few passages that mention that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" in Romans 5:8 and again in 1 Peter 3:18..."Christ also died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous". Yes, we call it heroic virtue when one person gives up his life for another. But it is simply outlandish to consider that a good person, one without sin, blemish or defect would give up his life for a loser, bum, fill in the personal pronoun.
Very roughly translated...
I am loved beyond measure or condition
I am loved in spite of my defects
I am loved regardless of what I do or do not do
I am loved because I am
I am loved even though I am a sinner and prone to error and imperfection
I am loved by the God of Creation, the Master of the Universe
I am loved more than I can possibly know or comprehend
I am loved by love Himself.
Any effort of prayer or longing towards my Lord on my part is first initiated by this very love on His part.
I cannot love completely and divinely in the same way that Christ's perfect love expresses itself. That having been said, my challenge of gratitude to Christ for His supreme love and sacrifice for me, is to strive to be an "other Christ" in the world. So, too, must I strive to love beyond the defects, sins, shallowness and shortcomings of others. How hard it is to bend in this direction, Lord! (especially living with a teenager). I seem to want to be loved unconditionally, but do I freely love as Christ so loved? Do I merely give love where or to whom it is convenient or comfortable for me?
Now, as you ponder, listen to this amazing song.
This is from Sir John Stainer's Crucifixion, sung by the First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir of Wichita Falls, Texas.