Summary: Trying to re-capture the wonder of our first love of Christ and to understand his indescribable love for us.
Have you ever been speechless? Have you ever been so
overcome with emotion that words failed you? I can think of times in my life when I have been hard pressed to put words to my emotions and those times are more than memorable.
Sometimes those moments that defy description are
moments of intense tragedy, sometimes they are moments of great joy or when we are surrounded by beauty. I remember the emotions that flooded my soul as I watched the World Trade Center fall to the ground on the morning of September 11, 2001. I couldn’t put words to that sense of loss and tragedy even today no matter how hard I tried. I also remember the moments in my life when I finally achieved a goal that I had labored for... graduation from College, graduation from Seminary, receiving the call to pastor the Old Stonington Baptist Church, Lots of times when I have
been unable to put my thoughts and feelings into words and I am sure that many of you, if asked, wouldn’t have too hard a time coming up with times in your lives when you were left without words. Most often, these moments are times of intense pleasure or beauty and when it happens we are somehow transformed. Such is the way it is with the grace and the love of God, or at least the way it should be when we consider his love for us that is described in our scripture passage for this morning.
So often we are tempted to cheapen the grace of God not by intentional action, but by taking for granted the life that is ours through Christ. Does it not amaze you that God has chosen you to call you his child? I know it does me! When I look at the very simplest of facts contained in the gospel and I contrast those facts with the way that I live my life, I am amazed and left speechless. There is no way that I cold ever deserve what Christ has done for me and I know that is the simplest of facts, but it is also one of the most profound things that we can ever experience if we will allow God’s love to reach deeply into our souls and touch us where we most need to be touched.
That is what happens in those moments when words fail us. Whether good or bad, we are touched deeply and are left wanting for words to adequately describe what it is that we are feeling. Sadly, familiarity breeds contempt or if not contempt, it at the very least breeds apathy and sadly, we are far to often apathetic about the gifts that are ours once they have become familiar and comfortable... taken for granted.
Remember those birthday or Christmas gifts of childhood, or even of recent years and how the newness and the beauty overwhelmed you when you first took the paper from the package. Remember how much you appreciated the gift and perhaps even wondered how the giver of those gifts thought you were worthy of such a gift. But then, with the passage of time you will acknowledge how the passing of time allowed you to start to take the gift for granted and maybe even let it fall out of use or whatever. I remember the year I got my first NEW bicycle for Christmas. I remember going out into the street and riding it endlessly over Christmas break... I remember keeping it safely on the front porch of our house and protecting it from the weather and the elements. I remember being without words to describe how happy I had been by receiving the gift of that shiny new red 24 inch Ten-Speed... I remember riding it for a long time and enjoying the opportunity to go FAST and the pedal easily back up the hills to home as I came home from riding my bike to school. What I don’t remember is when I stopped
taking care of the bike, when I started leaving it out in the rain, when I sort of took it for granted and allowed it to fall into dis-repair. Today, I couldn’t even tell you what happened to that bike. It might even still be in the back yard of my parent’s house in Hillsboro, but I couldn’t say for sure.
My point, and I do have one, is this: the same thing happens with many of us as we relate to God. We first encounter God’s love and grace and we experience a newness and a freshness of life as a result of our encounter with him. We gladly trade in our old lives with all of the pain and brokenness for the fresh start and the love that he offers to us and then somewhere along the way we begin to take God for granted. It probably isn’t something that we do