Eight and a half years ago, as she stood by her car on a busy Edmonton street (politely waiting for me to say good-bye), I stammered to the woman who would someday become my wife “We should talk, sometime.” Gratefully, it was the last time I would ask a girl out on a first date (that’s what I was trying to say to her) – and even more thankfully, she said yes when I later arranged to take her to dinner. A few things are important for this to have been successful:
1. Jen needed to be free and able to respond (if someone asked her out on a date now, she wouldn’t be free nor able to respond, as she is spoken for.)
2. I needed to take the first step and ask her out.
3. She needed to say ‘yes.’ (Which she did, and I am ridiculously blessed because of it.)
Last week, I explained how we are made to respond to this invitation from God. In this week comes the second part (YouCat 7-19): God has taken the first step, approaching us in our humanity. This is important because although we can naturally know that God exists, we would be incapable of knowing what He is really like without Him revealing that to us:
“Just as in human love one can know something about the beloved only if he opens his heart to us, so too we know something about God’s inmost thoughts only because the eternal and mysterious God has opened Himself to us out of love.” (YouCat 7)
The Bible expresses this story: how God reaches out in the Old Testament to Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Ezra, revealing Himself to them and binding Himself to by covenant. If you understand what a covenant is – far more than a promise, and one which brings with it curses (consequences) if one party or the other is unfaithful – you’ll see a progression here which will be fulfilled in Jesus. God makes a covenant with a husband (Adam), a father (Noah), the head of a tribe (Abraham), a prophet (Moses), a king (David), and a priest (Ezra) – all of which we can see perfected in Jesus. Jesus dies for his bride, the Church; reveals the love of the Father; is the head of the Church; offers Himself as sacrifice once for all -an action of the priest; shows us how to live – prophet; and reigns for eternity as our King. It is this enduring story of love and faithfulness which is revealed to us in the scriptures, and interpreted for us within the context of the Church’s lived faith.
In a nutshell, what we have in the scriptures is God – who has made us free to respond to Him – taking the first step, and professing His love and care for us. We can see it over and over again, in spite of the fact that the same patriarchs with whom God made these covenants often quickly fell short of them as well. God’s faithfulness never once wavered, His love for us knows no limits – and He has reached out to us in every way He can to prove it.