the love of God

Yesterday we went to the early service at Great Hills Baptist Church. Natalie had to attend a choir program and write about it for her choir grade. the program was decent, but sort of overproduced and too jazzy in a way that made it feel like we hadn’t been to church. When it was over, the clock said 10:45 so I figured we had time to make the 11:15 service at Austin Stone with some room to spare.

I didn’t tell anybody else in my family what I was doing. After a few minutes, consternation began to arise as the car began to figure out that we weren’t headed home or to a normal sunday afternoon eating place. Where are we going? Why?

When we made the turn off of first street, everybody knew what was up. Then one of the teenagers began to grumble in earnest. “we’ve already been to church. why do we need to go again? etc. etc” combined with the foot dragging and shoulder slouching that teenagers have down to a science.

I say all that to say that the stage was set for a rough time at the second church service of the morning. Then it started. Spur58 was leading the music and it was awesome. We did this version of Joy to the World and it was blow your socks off worshipful. Then we did O Come All Ye Faithful and How Great Thou Art. The set finished with a blow your socks off rendition of O Holy Night. Just wow. Christmas music that we have heard all of our lives took on real meaning for the first time in a long time.

I was thinking at that point, that I was glad that we came just to have experienced that worship time. I didn’t expect any great thing out of the sermon although Matt Carter is an excellent and faithful preacher of the Gospel. I just didn’t know how it could do anything but suffer by comparison to the worship we had just experienced.

Boy was I wrong. The sermon was incredible. Go to the link in the last sentence and listen to it yourself. Do it. Right. Now.

So faithful to the Gospel. So packed with deep Biblical content. The people in that high school gym yesterday heard the truth explained and presented.

Then we sang O Holy Night again. oh my. oh my. I looked over and the teenagers were singing. all three of them. with eyes closed worshipping the One who came to put death to death.

What a beautiful day and what a beautiful moment of family and corporate worship of the God who loved us. Who sent his Son so that our souls could feel their worth. Who in bringing glory to himself demonstrated his love toward us in the ultimate act of sacrifice. just wow.

Jonathan Dodson has posted a quote from Bono about this demonstration of God’s ultimate love for us:

“The idea that God, if there is a force of Logic and Love in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty, in shit and straw…a child… I just thought: “Wow!” Just the poetry … Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and it’s not that it hadn’t struck me before, but tears came streaming down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this.”

then Jonathan adds:

Isn’t it compelling? The logic and love of a personal God revealing himself, accounting for our person-ality, our propensity to love. And oh, the mercy of God, born in shit and straw, to rescue us from ourselves, our godless gift-giving, and our arrogant disregard for God and for others so that we might know and enjoy him and his new creation forever. And that he, the infinite God, would do it in Christ, in time, in space, in confounding condescension to pivot the course of the entire creation project from despair, destruction, and dereliction to a hopeful, whole, and happy future.

Will you ponder the poetry of Christmas this year, the genius of the incarnation? What obstructions are in your path to dwelling on the vulnerable, inexhaustible power and love of God in Christ? Renounce them and rivet your attention on the Christ.

Don’t you see? the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory. The glory of the only Son sent from the Father full of grace and truth.

He didn’t have to do that, but he did do it to bring praise to his glorious grace. His grace is great and greatly to be praised.

Fall on your knees and worship the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob who is worthy of all praise. worship the Lamb of God who was slain for your sins and mine.

What other response to such love would be even remotely appropriate?

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