“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”John 3:1–17
In the past few days I have been preparing for the wedding of good friends. Their child is also due to be baptised at the service which should have happened last year, but was postponed because of the pandemic. Weddings and baptisms are the most joyful services to prepare because of the happiness and delight they bring to all those who are there. They conjure feelings of love and happy memories of family life. This young family have their whole future ahead of them and we ask God to bless their relationships as they grow and develop in their love for each other.
Love is undoubtedly a good thing. We know from our own joyful experience of friends, family and partners. Conversely we also know times when we have felt a lack of love. Sadly, some people grow up without knowing much love in their lives and this can cause considerable damage emotionally and mentally which can take a significant time to repair.
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. The doctrine of the Trinity is complex and easy to misunderstand. In our reading, Jesus talks of himself as Son, God as Father and tells Nicodemus that he must be born of the Spirit. Whilst there is only one God, within God there is Father, Son and Spirit. There is relationship, there is love and trust, and there is intimacy all within the nature of God. This is one reason that we say that God is love.
Our penultimate verse is perhaps the most famous verse in all of the bible, quoted on billboards, at football matches and protests alike. It summarises who God is and what God has done. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” God has made the first move. God has reached out to us, from God’s heavenly realm. God moved from being unknowable, coming down to our level, entering our world and becoming intimately knowable. God sending God’s Son was an act of supreme self–giving love.
Being made in the image of God, we thrive when we are in healthy, mutually supportive relationships. Like the trinity there has to be love and trust, there has to be intimacy. God invites us to have that sort of relationship with those around us and with God of love themselves.
Rev Calum Crombie, HMP Chaplain