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God's Love is Messy

I don’t like to be told things I already know. I’m not sure anyone does, but to me it’s like a pet peeve - irrationally annoying. Sometimes this makes me an impatient, irritable person, but there is a silver lining to this disposition: I love learning, and, even more so, I love the experience of having something I thought I knew illuminated for me in a new way. I had the privilege of this experience at the end of Pastor Jim’s message this past Sunday, when he wove a familiar scripture into the weekly readings: John 3:16. 

Maybe you already said it in your head: For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life (NRSV). 

This quote often feels to me like an answer to a test question: Question 7. What is the definition of Christianity? And if you asked me to explain it before this Sunday, I would have said something like, “John 3:16 explains why God sent God’s son. God loved the world, so God sent Jesus.” 

Pastor Jim offered a different interpretation. He proposed this verse doesn’t answer the question of why God expressed love to the world, but how God expressed that love. 

Not the why of God’s love, but the how