The Hebrew/Christian experience with God is a story of a God whose love is so stubborn and relentless, so staunch and resolute, that despite human disobedience, defiance, and rebelliousness God continuously pursues us.
The Hebrew Scriptures tell the story of an endless parade of ingrates that repeatedly ignore his loving advances. Despite thisYahweh keeps coming back! The innermost core of Judaism is the Passover; which is a dramatic story of liberation from slavery into new life. And in the face of the most stunning example of His love, the Jewish people time and again slipped into a selfishness that questioned God’s love. Yahweh sent prophets after prophets to threaten, cajole, woo, and charm them back. Still they required the lesson of exile, and again liberation and return. Over and over, Yahweh intervenes in the life of Israel to rescue them. Over and over they – we – seem to miss the message.
The language of God is anything but distant and aloof. His is the language of a lover. The prophet Hosea describes a love-sick Yahweh pleading outside Israel’s chosen brothel among the pagan gods: “And I will take you for my wife forever...and you shall know the Lord.” When you read the “Song of Solomon” you hear a passionate, nearly sexual relationship between Yahweh and Israel.
Where is this passion, this pursuit, this hunger of God for our love in today’s teachings of the Church?
The Christian Scriptures are full with the same kind of love. Look how Jesus dealt with people, with sinners – one-on-one – like the public sinner, the adulterous woman, the prodigal son, and the Samaritan woman. Jesus never required itemized sins or exacted penance to offset the offense. He simply forgave them, loved them, and invited them to follow Him. Look how our Church began; our first Pope Peter renouncing within hours of the Last Supper his knowledge of Jesus. He denied Christ not to toughs but a woman. How did Jesus restore him? Jesus asked him three times to “Simon, do you love me?” No penance. Instead, he became Pope.
When will we figure out that our God’s love for us
is completely irrational and relentless?