Scripture Reading — Romans 8:31-39
Neither death nor life ... will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:38-39 —
When someone dies, it's common to hear people say, "We'll miss him." Even many years later a family member will say, "I miss her so. Hardly a day goes by that I don't grieve her absence." To miss someone is a great sorrow, but not to be missed is worse. Sometimes people will complain that no one missed them when they hadn't been to church for a couple of months. It can be so distressing that they begin looking for another church. Not being missed means not being well knit with others; leaving should cause a painful tearing or brokenness. Ultimately not being missed means not being loved. In Genesis 3 we find that after Adam and Eve sinned against God, they hid from God. And we're told, "But the Lord God called ... ?Where are you?'" (3:9). Most of the time I've heard anger in that question. God is calling them on the carpet. But perhaps it expresses sadness as well: "Where are you? I miss you." The whole Bible--and Jesus' coming, in particular--is the story of God seeking us, making peace so that he'll not have to miss us again. Love wants to hold the beloved forever. Our love is weak; all sorts of enemies can rip the beloved out of our arms. But God's love in Christ is powerful, able to hold us forever against all challengers.
Almighty God, it is not our hold on you but your hold on us that saves us. With cords of love bind us to your heart. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.