“In his mercy God suffers with us; for he is not heartless.” Origen
“What, then, has our pilgrimage to do with suffering? Is this not simply yet another instance of religion’s morbid and masochistic fascination with the subject? The believer has always struggled with the issue of suffering, both with his own and with God’s. Does God suffer or is he ‘apathetic,’ without suffering? The doctrinal tradition always insisted on God’s ‘apathy’ as a way of insisting that God was above human emotions and passions. God was unchangeable. Unfortunately, it comes to be believed in such a way that God seemed uncaring and untouchable. The concern was for God’s faithfulness. God is indeed, unchangeable; but in the sense that his love and his faithfulness are constant and steadfast. Moltmann is one of the few modern theologians who insists on God’s passion. The word ‘passion’ has a useful double meaning here. There is suffering that is passion, and there is a passion for life. God’s Passion is not the glorification of suffering, nor an admission of it’s terrible necessity. God’s passion shows us a passion that is ‘the voluntary laying oneself open to another and allowing oneself to be intimately affected by him; that is to say the suffering of passionate love.” Alan Jones
“Search the Scriptures,
for in them you will find
this God of the loveless,
this God of Mercy, Love and Justice,
who weeps over these her children,
these her precious ones who have been carried from the womb,
who gathers up her young upon her wings
and rides along the high places of the earth,
who sees their suffering
and cries out like a woman in travail,
who gasps and pants;
for with this God,
any injustice that befalls one of these precious ones
is never the substance of rational reflection and critical analysis,
but is the source
of a catastrophic convulsion within the very life of God.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Consider how “the voluntary laying oneself open to another” describes God’s interactions with us in Christ, and otherwise.
- Are you attempting to have redemptive relationships without such risky openness? …without allowing yourself to be “intimately affected” by others?
- How much of God’s “suffering of passionate love” has come to characterize your love for others?
Abba, teach to me accept the risks and even the suffering involved in loving others. Thank you for loving me.
For More: Soul Making by Alan Jones
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. My goal is to share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. Thanks for reading/sharing! – Bill