Dr. Metzger, your blog is so full deep, moving truths. The following statements/stood out as I read your blog over and over.
“God is for us and not against us” – This reminded me of the prophecy of Ezekiel recorded in Ezekiel 34: 1-10. He prophesied against the irresponsible shepherds of Israel. These shepherds instead of feeding the flock, they feed themselves and clothe themselves with the wool. As a result of their neglect, the sheep are scattered. In verse 10, God declares that he is against such shepherds. The very thought of God being against you or anyone is paralyzing. Who will you run to for help? You never ever want or get God to be against you! Ezekiel uses the same phrase in 5:8. He uses this phrase to express God’s judgement. it is so calming to know that God is for me and not against me, in Christ.
“As we ascend to Christ in faith because of the out pouring of God’s love into our hearts, we are free to descend to our neighbor in love”
“Like God who is for us, we are now free to exist for others …”
Just like you,”I will give myself more fully to the care of others as a response of gratitude to God and free exercise of the divine love”.
I agree with Bonhoeffer’s argument that “Jesus is the man for others and the church is the community for others”. Jesus influenced every person He came into contact with. May the Church follow His footsteps. I wonder how this can be achieved in our individualistic culture! My limited observation these past few years is that, very few people/Christians seem to have time for the “other” – everyone is either busy, unavailable or tired. How will the church have time for the victims of violence and abuse when we fail to make time for those with in and are hurting? Ministering to the victims of violence most often means disrupting your busy schedule and comfort. It will require taking time to listen. Unless we – the Church, yield to the Holy Spirit and let Him produce the fruit of the Spirit in us without which we cannot hear the cry of the victims of violence. Jesus our perfect advocate was so anointed with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:38; “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”.