God Waits

"We are strange conundrums of faithfulness and fickleness. 
We cleave to you in all the ways that we are able. 
We count on you and intend our lives to be lived for you, and then we find ourselves among your people who are always seeking elsewhere and otherwise. 
So we give thanks that you are the God who yearns and waits for us, 
and that our connection to you is always from your side, 
and that because of your goodness that neither life nor death 
nor angles nor principalities
nor heights nor depths 
nor anything in all creation can separate us from you. 
We give you thanks for your faithfulness, so much more durable than ours. Amen." 
-Walter Brueggemann, in anticipation of reading Jeremiah 2-3. 

This morning on Twitter, Greg Boyd tweeted something (actually he tweeted several things) which caught my attention. He wrote, "By becoming our sin & our curse on the cross, God reveals that his love for us, and our worth to him, could not possibly be improved on." Many of us know it in our heads, if not in our hearts, that God loves us and that we cannot earn some higher status with God. Our status is elevated by nothing other than the solidarity of God with us on the cross. We are, as Brueggemann put is, "strange conundrums of faithfulness and fickleness"--we cannot decide whether we love God or not, whether we should worship God or not, indeed we cannot even decide if we believe in God or not. But when we are faithful, there is something to be said about that. When we are faithful, ours has been a tradition of liberation and empowerment (and more stories need to be told about that tradition). But the question is this; does our value to God, our worth to God, depend upon us? Does God's approval of us vary along with our fickleness and faithfulness to God? Does our discipleship determine God's commitment to us?

Prior to the cross, the question was left invalidated. God had demonstrated for us time and again, with promises and blessings, that God was not going to forsake us or leave us, that God's relationship to us was one of covenant love and faithfulness. But the cross, where God in concrete reality entered the conundrum with us, is where our value is finally and eternally determined. God's love for us is defined not by our faithfulness or our fickleness. God is a God who, from the start to the finish, "yearns and waits for us." God does not love us because we have value or because we are faithful, God's love is what gives us our value and empowers us to faithfulness. Love is at the beginning, long before we have a chance to screw up the story. It is a love that cannot be diminished, a love which ascribes us value that cannot be "improved on."

And so what response would be appropriate but for us to ascribe the same value to others? How can we affirm God's love for us without affirming it for everyone? If our value is not dependent upon us but upon the God who made us, then if anyone is in line for rejection we must all be in line for rejection and if anyone is loved and valued then we all must be loved and valued. We cannot know this reality about God with out participating in it.

Therefore let us affirm the value of those around us. Let us love one another in the same way that God has loved us, without scrutiny or manipulation, putting our stock not in some expectation or standard but only ever in the cross of Christ. Let us fight and die for one another. For, as Serene Jones once said, "Justice is nothing but Love with legs..."