Hey everyone, Tim here.
I have a friend I grew up with who is a song writer. He's written many songs: some good, some not so good. But in one particular song, written probably eight years ago, there is a line about Jesus that has constantly stood out in my mind: "We're still living off the love you left behind."
The line is based on the idea that Jesus fully embodied God; that Jesus was God on this earth in human form and that because Jesus was God, Jesus embodied everything that God is: love. And when Jesus left this earth he left his followers two things: his example, his Spirit.
This morning I was reading Psalm 118:1-2,
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever. Let all Israel repeat:
His faithful love endures forever.
As I read, I was really meditating on the word "endure." There seems to be so much depth to that word especially in the context of the verse: God's faithful love endures forever. I began to think about the different ways to understand "endure": persevering through a trial; patiently waiting; bearing a burden for another; moving toward a desired goal/outcome. There's probably many more ways to understand that word, but those were the ones that really captured me this morning.
Since we've just celebrated Easter, I'm drawn to the word "endure" in the context of Jesus' life. I said earlier that Jesus left us two things when he ascended - his example and his Spirit - and it is first and foremost his example of endurance that strikes me. Jesus endured limitation when he became human, he endured human brokenness; he endured the (seemingly slow) growth and development of his disciples; he endured physical pain and desperation when he endured the cross. He also endures now as his Spirit continues to work in each of us and in this world.
When I say that Jesus "endured" our human brokenness and the slow growth and development of his followers, I do not mean that Jesus was "put off" by it all. I don't think Jesus was surprised at what state we were in as humans or that we somehow exasperated his good graces here on this earth. I think Jesus "endured" these things in the same way an artist endures the creative process.
If you've taken the time to do something creative (write a poem or story, draw or paint, photography, pottery or jewelry, cooking, building or designing something), you know that it doesn't always just happen. There is usually an amount of waiting, trying different techniques and combinations of things. There are those moments when everything is going your way and then in the next breath, everything is falling apart.
I think this is how God's love "endures." I think God is doing something in this world, through the Spirit and through anyone who partners with the Spirit in whatever form it takes. I think when Jesus came he brought to this world the fullness of God's love. This love is the very love we're still living off, the very love that is creating and shaping all of creation, the very thing that endures forever.
Everything in this life will fade away, but God's love will endure forever.