Crossing Over

Staff_team_2015 Posted by Roger Cooke on Mon, 25 Dec 2017 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

One of the most striking biblical images of God is found in the parable about the Lost Son. We’re presented with a picture of this man, patiently looking out for his errant child, then hitching up his clothes and running out to meet him… presumably with outstretched arms, very possibly with tears of joy stinging his cheeks.

It’s not the sort of behaviour that would have been expected from a respectable patriarch in first-century Palestine. You can imagine the disapproving ‘tuts’ and shaking of heads from any neighbours who witnessed the scene.

This man had been disowned and abandoned by his youngest son – who had essentially wished his dad dead by asking for an early payout. The norm dictated that this individual would no longer be recognised as part of the family, let alone welcomed back.

And when the welcome happens, the lack of dignity displayed by the father would have been scandalous. Family patriarchs don’t run; they wait. And they certainly don’t shower grown, rebellious children with public affection.

But this father breaks with protocols and cultural norms. He just wants his child back with him. Nothing else matters. Overflowing with reckless grace and generosity, motivated by the full measure of love and compassion, he crosses over – overcoming cultural barriers, covering the physical space between himself and his returning son.

The season of Christmas invites us to remember and celebrate that our God crossed over to meet us at our point of need and to bring us home with Him. He goes even further that the father in the parable. Jesus steps into the darkness and brokenness of our world before we’ve even started to journey home. God makes the first move.

The story of the Incarnation inspires us each to cross over and meet people in their need, to offer them help and hope and to help them experience God’s embrace and His invitation to come home. Sometimes, that will involve crossing geographical boundaries. Almost always, it will be costly, requiring us to overcome norms, expectations and our own tendencies toward comfort and predictability.

In this season of light and hope, may you re-encounter the God who crosses over and steps in to our story. And may you be inspired to cross over and share His love with a world in need of good news.

Happy Christmas from all of us at CMSI!

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