Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Extravagant, Generous Love

           I would like you to think about how you pray to God. I would like you to think about what you talk to God about when you pray, for what do you ask, for what do you give him thanks and praise.
          When you pray to God what do you expect? What is your greatest hope when you talk with God? Please think about that.
          Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, got down on his knees and asked God to strengthen the Ephesians with a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in”
          As he prayed he hoped that with both their feet planted firmly on love they’d be able to take in the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Paul encouraged them to “Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” He told them that God could do anything, more than they could imagine or guess or ask for in their wildest dreams.
          Now, good friends, is that how what you expect when you pray? Do you have both feet solidly planted on love? I have to confess that sometimes my expectations aren’t high enough nor are my feet always planted in love. But I keep trying to improve and continue to trust in God’s amazing grace. But sometimes it’s awfully hard.
          That’s why it’s so important to be reading God’s word for us every day. That’s why we need to hear the story of Jesus sitting on the hill looking at all the people gathered there on that grassy slope just waiting for what he had for them.
          They didn’t expect to be fed with barley bread and fish but that’s exactly what he did. This was beyond anything they had ever experienced. It was beyond their imaginations.
          They were on the verge of making Jesus their king. And so he had to get away to pray and talk to his Father, the same Father we pray to, to ask for strength to continue the work God, his Father, had given him to do.
          He expected God to listen and give him all he needed to continue. And he did. He gave Jesus an energy that allowed him to walk on the water toward the disciples in the wind and the rain. He gave him the power to control the wind and the storm. He gave him the wisdom to teach and the compassion to heal all who came to him.
             God, our Father, can do the same for us. By reading, studying, contemplating, and praying, expecting him to listen and answer with extravagant love beyond anything we can imagine, we will be enabled to do more than we think we’re capable of. That’s the kind of God we worship and adore this day. That’s what God’s grace is like.
          Thanks be to God for his grace. Amen.

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