Bulletin May 2021
by Bruce Billington
The God Who Loves
Richard Rohr states,
God does not decide to love, therefore, God’s love can never be determined by the worthiness or unworthiness of the object. But God is Love itself. God cannot not love because love is the nature of God’s very being (my underline).
How does this work? Rohr goes on to state that the Holy Spirit sustains and heals all things into love by slowly unveiling the inherent goodness, truth, and beauty in everything.
I love this. God’s expression of love and beauty is all around us. But incredibly, as His beloved sons and daughters, it is also placed into our being through the indwelling Holy Spirit – this means that we not only receive God’s love – but that we can also express it.
We are not stuck in our own situation any more. We cannot change our history but through the Holy Spirit we can be healed from it and we can build our life upon a whole new reality. The Holy Spirit warms, softens, mends and renews all the broken, cold places that we have in our lives. He slowly pulls down the walls we have built to protect ourselves and replaces these with the essence of His being, meaning we no longer need to hide from, or fear, anything.
Annie Dillard makes a beautiful comment of what this can look like. She says,
We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we not only notice each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other… Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.
I urge you to take pause and think about this statement. I know we have talked about the creation in previous bulletins, but there is more to be gleaned here. It is claimed that the vast majority of animals and flowers that ever existed have never been observed by a human eye. And this is just what is on land, let alone what is under the sea. God created all of this, firstly for His own pleasure, but also, because of His great love for us, so He can share it with us. He wants us to notice it and enjoy it just because it is.
In recent years I came back to two old hobbies I used to enjoy. One was photography. Photography requires you to slow down, have a good look at what is around you, and consider how you are going to portray it. In other words, it forces you to take it all in. I was stunned at how much I had been missing. In my hurry to get to where I was going I had been walking past so many of the wonders and beauty of God’s creation. I am now observing and enjoying so many things that I used to take for granted and just glance at briefly if it all. It has certainly led me into a whole new appreciation, not only of the creation but also the Creator.
The second hobby that I have taken back up is vegetable gardening. I grew up in a country area where both my father and grandfather had large sections and were keen vegetable gardeners. I was always with them and kept up the tradition myself until my constant travel made it impossible.
Getting back into it has been amazing in so many ways. Because I was trained to be a completely organic (absolutely no chemicals) gardener I have become aware again of how closely related all the soil and plants are to compost, insects, bugs and climate and how it has constant predators (weeds) trying to prevent its growth. To produce its goods, the soil has to be constantly nourished, fertilised and given a good balance of water and sunshine to thrive.
None of this is by accident. It all reflects the glory of God and how He has set the ecology to work in harmony with itself (without bees the whole planet would eventually die) and how there are always weeds coming to try and spoil it, just as the enemy does here on earth.
The whole point of this bulletin is to express not only what an amazing God we have, and how marvelous His wondrous creation is – but also that in our high-pressured lives we can rush past so much that He put in place both for His own enjoyment and for ours.
As incredible as all of this is, Psalm 8 tells us that we, His people, are God’s favourite part of His creation. As much as we ever value His work in nature, we are always called to value God’s people more. There is so much of His beauty to be seen and expressed in the people and cultures He has put us amongst.
All of this expresses His wonderful love for us and how He wants us to soak it up and enjoy all the incredible benefits that come from knowing Him and relating with one another.
God bless you.