Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wednesday, Third Week of Lent: The Nearness of God

“For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?” – Deuteronomy 4:7-8

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” – Mt 5:17

I am dumbfounded that God relentlessly desires to enter into covenant with us. Despite their consistent infidelity, God consistently reaches out to renew a covenant with the Hebrew people. Despite my repeated unfaithfulness, God’s faithfulness is repeatedly offered to me. I am awestruck.

The word covenant means “coming together.” God wants to come together with us. Moreover, God wants to come nearer and nearer to us. In Jesus, God becomes human and comes to live next door to us. Through Jesus, God is born in us, develops with us, is tempted like us, suffers like us, and dies for us. Furthermore, Jesus embraces all of our brokenness, weaknesses, and sins to fulfill the entire law – to show us the commanding way to love and how to live with integrity. And when Jesus dies, he gifts us with the Holy Spirit. In the Spirit, God comes so close to us as our breath, receiving our bodies as God’s home, hiding in our thoughts, speech and actions.

These lyrics of Norah Jones’ song echoes within me after yesterday’s experience of prayer: “It's not the pale moon that excites me … It isn't your sweet conversation … Oh no, it’s just the nearness of you.” I don’t know who’s still singing to whom, God to me or vice-versa. Maybe it’s both. I am awestruck. God keeps wanting to come closer … to you … to me … nearer and nearer… 

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