Lockdown hair would seem to be quite an advantage in this week’s Gospel, well so long as the length of the hairs counted matters and perhaps, for those whom have not dared dye their own, the colour does not.(I am thinking of ‘what has been covered, will now be uncovered and everything now hidden will be made clear’!!). However, on a more serious note, with the image of ‘hairs being counted’ the Lord is declaring something rather lovely if challenging to accept. That God, our Father, knows us through and through and loves us still.
The American evangelist, Philip Yancey once wrote a lovely aphorism
‘There is nothing you can do that will make God love you anymore and there is nothing you can that will make God love you any less’.
This is, when you stop to think about it, quite simply mind-blowing. Whatever I do or don’t do, this doesn’t alter God’s feelings for me because He knows all of me. He knows the ‘stuff’ which I keep hidden and closeted away, perhaps from myself but certainly from others. I want to be liked or admired or respected and I am afraid that others would not if they ‘knew what I was really like’. In this Gospel, He is declaring there is nothing in you I don’t know or see or read and I still think you were worth dying for.
That makes no sense to our way of thinking. I grow to love people as i grow to know them. Random acts of kindness or care or generosity deepens the love and appreciation and, conversely, acts of cruelty, insensitivity and selfishness can damage or harm the relationship. Not so with God. He loves me, in spite of my crassness, my stupidity, my lack of goodness.
When i really understand this, at that moment perhaps, I want to be worthy of it. As we say time and time again, I can’t be, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to be better, and it’s that yearning which leads me on. That yearning comes from God. The Holy Spirit at work, pulling me into the mystery, embrace, wonder of the Godhead and really, that is what Paul is speaking of in the Romans passage today.
This entry into the relationship of Divine Life had never been available before the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. That is why He is the new Adam. He is not another Adam, but the New Adam. The obedience or lack of, fidelity or lack of, these are our battles but they are not THE battle. That has already been won by Jesus on the Cross. My main battle is with myself – can I accept the generosity of God ? Am I able to put aside all my strivings and successes and achievements (or lack thereof) in the spiritual life, which are as nothing, and accept that Jesus has done it all for me ? I can still strive to be more open to God and others of course; I still can seek wisdom and a deeper readiness to listen and respond to Him but that is not the central act of a Christian.
The central act is to accept the ‘abundant free gift’.
It is abundant – bottomless, endless, overflowing.
It is free – I do not need to buy or earn it, indeed it is impossible for me to do so because it comes from the very essence of God – it is his unearnable, unfathomable forgiveness.
It is gift – All we need do is accept it and then having accepted it seek ways to share it.
‘What we hear in whispers’, (Eugene Boylan’s ‘Tremendous Lover’ telling how He loves us) we are asked to ‘proclaim from the house tops’.
I suppose if I could only fully grasp the wonder of this ridiculously undeserved and, on the part of God, shameless love – wouldn’t I want to shout about it ?
ps. Any spelling mistakes I blame on the cat who again draped herself over my typing arm which meant I had to type one handed and with my left hand at that. Goodness only knows what would have happened had I been writing it longhand, although maybe some of you might feel it would be more legible left handed.