Devotional article for The Greybull Standard and The Republican Rustler
Love from before our beginning
Strangely enough, some things will shock us even when they do not surprise us at all.
The recent release of videos revealing the callousness and cruelty of abortion providers towards little children is a good example of this. There was nothing really surprising about what the videos showed; I think it is safe to assume that we all knew already, more or less, what an abortion is, and what is done to a little child in the process. Nevertheless, it has sent shock waves through society to have the callousness and cruelty so clearly exposed.
Not much is likely to change, though, from the shock of that which was never a surprise. For Christians, of course, and for those whose natural sense of right and wrong command some respect for human life, the videos could do little more than to affirm previous positions; whereas for those who consider the cruelty exposed a price worth paying for the symbolic triumph that abortion represents for their belief system, the exposure has been mostly an embarrassment calling for a cover-up.
Perhaps the real significance of the release of the videos lies at a different level. As much as the callousness exposed defies any excuse, and any attempt to ignore it by changing the topic of conversation, it also defies being triumphantly utilised as a weapon against opponents or as an instrument of obstruction against political rivals. Such cruelty calls for serious contemplation. It calls for Christians to remember exactly why it is that the Christian faith calls for an attitude to the life of other human beings that cannot but abhor the cruelty of abortion. It calls for Christians to contemplate the love of God.
"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity," a Psalm says, "and in sin did my mother conceive me." In other words, already from the very first moment of our existence are we set in a relation to God. It is a relation in which we fail, obviously; but that is not all that there is to be said about that relationship.
"You formed my inward parts," says another Psalm, "you knitted me together in my mother's womb." God Himself has formed us and shaped us, through the processes that He has laid down in nature. We were made for Him from the very beginning, and for His love.
More than that, God "chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world," the holy Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians, "that we should be holy and blameless before Him." We are, in other words, from the very beginning, made for the greatest love of all, the salvation of God in Christ.
And His is the greatest love of all. Out of His love for us the Son of God, who is Himself God from all eternity, became flesh in the womb of His blessed mother, to live a full human life for us and with us, and die for us, and with us. He has made Himself one with us in our life from beginning to end. And this He has done to give Himself to me, and the fullness of His own life.
His love for me is from before the very beginning of my being. It is love that is from eternity to eternity. It is out of eternal love that He gives Himself to me, and all that is His, His heavenly Kingdom and His eternal life.
This is His love for me. And this love calls for my love; it calls for love, not only for Him, but also for all who are loved by Him - from before the very beginning of life, and beyond all endings.
To contemplate the love of God is the proper response to all that which is shocking in life, although perhaps not surprising, and to all that which presents us with the greatest of questions; to stand in awe at His love - and then to live in His love, and live out His love, as best we can.
Pastor Jais H. Tinglund
Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem