26 March 2016

Holy Saturday: Outlive one's love for God

The Good Friday hymn, "O Sacred Head now Wounded" ends with
"What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee."
The last line made me think of Holy Saturday, a day when there is space to dwell on the absence of God. Just as the first disciples who deeply felt the absence of death on the day after the crucifixion, not comprehending that the resurrection was coming, there are many today that do not know the presence of God.

Some of the absence comes from "outliving" (or outgrowing) one's love for God. Within campus ministry, one is confronted with the reality that many people grow up with this idea that God wants them to be happy and good (cf. moral therapeutic deism). When suffering happens, one's love for that sort of God often dwindles and fades. Or there are those who have grown up with very rigid understandings of who God is, often a God who seems most concerned with right rules and/or maintaining the status quo. When questions arise, one's love for that sort of God also often dwindles and fades. In a manner of speaking, these folks have outgrown/outlived their love for God.

Yet, as much as I am saddened by the idea of people turning away from pursuing a relationship with God, there is also hope. For as the warped pictures of God are put to death, there is room for resurrection: the Spirit moving within them to know God fully and the hope of a vibrant understanding of and relationship with God, in all of His fullness revealed in the Bible, a way of knowing God that can not be outgrown or outlived.

For further reflections on Holy Saturday, see my blog from 2015, 2013, and Tish Warren's reflections at "The Well."

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