Bread – Relationship

May 10, 2013


Readings for Friday, May 10, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Ezek. 1:1-14,24-28b; Heb. 4:14-5:6; Luke 9:28-36; Psalms 85,86,91,92

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Have you noticed that good relationships between people have at least two features – one is respect for the other person and the other is approachability. We cannot have a good relationship with people who are unapproachable and we cannot have a good relationship with someone we do not respect.

For example, people in a good relationship listen to each other. Why listen? One because the person we are listening to permits us to listen because he (and you) are approachable. Second, we listen because we respect the speaker.

Let’s try another example. Work. Who do we work best with? Those people for whom we have respect (and respect us) and those people who are approachable.

Where do these thoughts come from? From today’s readings.

In today’s readings from both Ezekiel and Luke, we have images of a holy God, a God who is so mysterious as to strike awe and wonder, a God of “wheels” and “wings” and “eyes” and “lighting” and “light” and power and glory. We have images of God to where we are seeing things which we cannot describe. We have images of God which cause us to fall down (“And when I saw it, I fell on my face…” Ezek. 1:28b). We have images of God which drive awe and the utmost respect. So much respect, in fact, that we realize that we are the made and He is the Maker, we are the created and He is the Creator, we are nothing and He is All in All.

But, in today’s readings, we also have images of an approachable God. In our reading from Hebrews today, we read “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb. 4:16

So, we can have a relationship with a holy God who we have awe and the utmost respect for by approaching Him where He is.

How can this be? What occurred that we went from Ezekiel’s vision to the writer of Hebrews saying with absolute confidence that we can, with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace?

The secret to this is locked up in two things. First is the “we” in the Hebrews passage. The “we” is not “we” globally, but “we” who have been saved by the grace of God through, forgiven of our sins by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In other words, the “we” is Christians. The second is from our reading today in Luke – “And as He [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of His face was altered, and His clothing became dazzling white…And a voice came out of the cloud, saying ‘This is My Son, My Chosen One, listen to Him!’” Lk. 9:29,35 We call this event the “Transfiguration.” Jesus’ identity as man also revealed as His identity as God.

In other words, God is approachable because He first approached us as God the Son, laying down His life for us so that, because of who He is, we might have a relationship with Him for eternity.

And in this, God teaches us a very interesting thing about relationships. I can have a relationship with another whom I respect, even though I am not worthy of respect, and I can have a relationship with another who is approachable even though I am not very approachable. But can there be a relationship in return? In other words, if I am not worthy of respect and am unapproachable, can the person who has respect and is approachable have a relationship with me? The answer to that question is “yes.” Why? Because of love.

If I have love, I can create relationships with those who don’t deserve respect or who are not very approachable. I can have those relationships because there is a first love.

And that first love is God. God so loved us that, in spite of our disobedience, sin, unfaithfulness, and hatred toward Him, He sent His Son to live among us and die for us. And we can approach God in His throne room because Christ rose from the dead and sits on the throne.

Love trumps circumstances. Love trumps attitudes. Love trumps sin. Love trumps offense. Love trumps all.

We can have a relationship with God because God has chosen to build the bridge we can cross to Him. What we need to remember is that this relationship is built on God’s terms, not ours, on His work, not ours, and on His love, not ours.

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© 2013 GBF

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