When we hear about God in today’s Scriptures, I think in some ways we kind of accept it, but with reservation. We don’t really believe in that kind of absolute gratuitous love. A couple of weeks ago, I was traveling back from someplace on an airplane and, sitting while I was coming home, it was in the evening, so I got out my prayer book and was beginning to pray some of the Psalms.
It was shortly before the plane landed, and when we landed, we got out into the aisle, and the gentleman next to me said, “What’s the good word?” Now, I’d been reading — he knew I’d been reading the Scriptures — and I thought to myself, “Well, how can I summarize what I’ve been reading from the Psalms?” I said, “The word — the good word — is God loves us.” And he said, “Yes, that’s it! That’s really it! God loves us; that’s the good word.”
Today, we hear that word in the most powerful way — I think we do during the whole of the Sunday readings. “God loves us.” It’s a kind of love that St. John, in his first letter, says, “This is what I mean by the love of God: Not that we love God, but that God first loves us. That’s God’s love.” First God loves us, and that’s so true in every one of the lessons today. In the first lesson from the Book of Exodus, in its way, that makes God seem very human, Moses has to kind of plead with God: “Don’t destroy the people.” God changes and doesn’t; God loves them….