“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.”
“You have abandoned me
and turned your back on me,”
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
[Jürgen Moltmann encourages us to ask] ‘How do I experience God? What does God mean for me? How am I determined by him?’; but also ask these questions in reverse. ‘How does God experience me? What do I mean for God? How is God determined by me?’ This is not to say that the relationship between God and us is a reciprocal one between equals; rather that for a relationship to be a relationship at all, it much be a two-way affair.’ The question, ‘How does God experience me?’ Suggests a fresh way to look at ourselves and our way of being in the world. What is God’s experience of me? God’s experience of me must seem strange, disappointing, amusing, hurtful, and occasionally delightful. Once the initial question has been entertained by the believer, its effects go on reverberating in the soul. Because I am capable of reflection and self-transcendence (I can go beyond myself), I can also experience God’s experience of me. I can ‘see’ what I am like from God’s point of view. I can learn to know myself in the mirror of God’s love, suffering, and joy. When I reflect on how God experiences me I begin to learn more about myself; and the more I understand God’s experience of me and my world, the more deeply the mystery of God’s passion comes home to me.” Alan Jones
“The pages of the prophetic writings are filled with echoes of divine love and disappointment, mercy and indignation. The God of Israel is never impersonal This divine pathos is the key to inspired prophecy.” Abraham Heschel
“I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- If you had to put it into words, how would you describe God’s experience of you?
- Can you attempt to look at yourself from God’s eyes? Can you allow yourself to see yourself “in the mirror of God’s love?”
- Do you think of what you do as either bringing joy or pain to the heart of God?
Abba, only one with your heart could love me as you do.
For More: Soul Making: The Desert Way of Spirituality by Alan Jones
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”