Excerpt from One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow (eBook) by Scot McKnight.
Lots of people say they know that God loves them, but deep inside they don't feel loved and so they feel like impostors with God. Even more, deep inside they are so conflicted about love itself that they cannot become vulnerable enough to embrace this God and know that God embraces back.
It is much easier to say we believe God loves us
than it is to bask and dwell in that God of Love
by receiving and returning love…
Until we get our heart connected to God's heart, Jesus' dream kingdom will be neither understood nor embraced. At the core of Jesus' dream kingdom is God, and that God is a God of Love. No, even better, that God is Love the way that God is Life.
The only way to be connected to God is to love the God who is Love himself.
We need to think back into Time and Before Time to the time when God was all there was, back to Before this world of ours even existed. What we have learned from Jesus and the New Testament and the Church is that … God was indwelling God. The Father. The Son. The Spirit. One. Three-in-One. Indwelling and interpenetrating One Another in the endless God Dance of love and delight. This dance of love is who God was and is, and this is what God is like and what God will always be like, and that means that the only way to be connected to God is to love the God who is Love himself.
To follow Jesus … is to enter into the Divine Dance.
To follow Jesus into this God-who-is-Love God is to enter into the Divine Dance. Jesus' vision of the dream kingdom, then, is a dream about dancing with the God who is Love. It's like Jesus to imagine a world where that kind of God was at work. So we must listen to another of Jesus' stories and…
Imagine a World Where God Is Love
Jesus was imagining the kingdom one day when he told a parable we call the Prodigal Son… The story starts at a table where Jesus is dining with the religious experts of Jesus’ day who had serious questions about his table friends [see Luke 15:1-2]. The experts want Jesus to explain himself for doing such an unholy thing like associating with (to the point of sharing a meal with) sinners. Jesus does explain himself, but he does so by telling a fantastic story that takes their question and sabotages it. At the same time, the tax collectors and sinners are listening in to Jesus' response and they discover that he is tossing grace toward them.
What Jesus wants us to see in this Kingdom.Life is a Father-God who loves us in ways we never imagined and a table of fellowship that is full of Kingdom.Life joy and love. But this father sabotages the expectations of many listeners (and many today are like them)…
"We've got to imagine this world to make it happen."
We've got to imagine this world to make it happen. The dream of reconciliation with God and with the family can only happen if we first believe it can, and then we have to take the first steps to return to the Father.
Question: If we already agree that God is Love, does it make a difference when we take time to imagine that God is Love? Imagine that God is Love, then share your thoughts in a comment.
- Adam Forrest, Zondervan
Learn more about One.Life (eBook).
Visit Scot McKnight's blog at www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed.
Image and some styling above are web-exclusive features not included in the text of One.Life. Image: Rembrandt's interpretation of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons. This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer's personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)