We made an impromptu trip to the beach with the boys on Monday. Being there gave me time to reflect on a couple of things I’d picked up during Holy Week.
On the Wednesday of Holy Week I went to Liverpool Cathedral to listen to Rob Bell. I haven’t read his latest book (Love Wins) so can’t comment on that but have heard all the controversy surrounding it. So what struck me most on the night was the lack of controversy. In fact I came away quite puzzled as to what all the fuss was about – but as I say I haven’t yet read the book.
What struck me most (in terms of children’s work) were his first words. He stood up said ‘What I want to tell you is this – God loves everyone’. And that was the basic premis throughout the evening. God loves everyone. Yes if we choose to accept this love their needs to be a response from us but God still loves everyone.
And that is what we tell children. All the way through childhood we say ‘God loves everyone’ and then at some point a round about the age of 14 we start adding the clauses. God loves everyone but … God loves everyone as long as …. God loves everyone except ….
2 things strike me about this – 1 is this another of the ‘chipping away’ that leads many 14/15 year olds to leave the church (if they have made it that far)
2 Its simple really God loves everyone. Yes we may not understand that or sometimes even be able to accept that but its true. Yes their are responses and follow ons needed if you love God but the basic premis is true. God loves Everyone. Is it too simple? Is it too child like? Yet what Jesus says is that to enter heaven we need to be child like. And to be childlike we need to accept – as children do – that God loves everyone.
More of my thinkings later in the week!