We love because He loved us first.

On Friday, November 13th, the BBC charity Children in Need held its culminating programme. Throughout the evening, donations of loving, caring people of all faiths and none came to a still-growing, thirty-seven million pounds. Together with Comic Relief ordinary people have raised over a hundred and fifteen million pounds, not counting many other well known and not so well known charities.

The programme had been on the air for a couple of hours when an Islamist militant group began bombing and shooting people of all faiths or none in Paris to the cry in Arabic, ‘God is great!’ a call sanctified and holy throughout the world in many languages, many faiths. As I write there are a hundred and twenty-nine dead, with  three hundred and fifty wounded, sixty still critical. Some will ask where the greatness of God is in this.

God is great. His compassion and mercy, His love, extend to all. We, His children, forget this in our squabbles and every form of greed. Although we are God’s children, in worldly terms we are adults and can give way to adult worldly desires and hates. We fight with ‘adult’ weapons.

Our Father sees his children warring with one another, yet loves us still – enough to die for us in an eternal act that pervades all time. We cannot see the future but He, the Eternal, is the future, today, yesterday, tomorrow.

‘While we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ for people of all faiths and none.

The World God Loved

A murmuration of starlings swirl against the setting sun,
a parliament of rooks vote for home or beyond:
the farther field or the evening rest.
The quiet low of cattle,
the lamb’s call, its mother’s reply,
the stilling of the wind,
the pause of lift and sway in the alder boughs,
and the stream’s flow heard clearer
against the hush of the world.

‘My peace I give you,
not as the world gives,
not as the world gives.’

Then what is this ease of sunset into twilight?

hope for the night,
hope for tomorrow,
hope for my peace.’

What is this calm that stills my soul?

just part of me.’

‘As the flock moves against the set of sun,
As the rooks call for evening rest,
their shape is seen,
their decision made.
The cattle move to home,
the lamb to its dam.
For this I formed the world,
the universe,

‘They know me, the birds and the beasts;
that gather in shifting shapes,
they know me, that go down to the sea,
that face the uncertain waves,
the herds, the flocks, the flowing deeps.
The world they know is me.

‘In the beginning,
in the empty dark,
I brooded like a mother hen
over shifting, uncertain waves,
breathing on them,
choosing the good,
the perfect conditions.

Waves of light,
waves of every kind,
multiplying, separating,
expanding, condensing,
mass, gravity, liquids, solids.
Clusters, galaxies,
stars, planets, moons,
the Earth,

Tides and seasons of Sun and Moon,
driving evolution;
bacteria, cells, vegetal life,
animal life, birds, mammals,

Man, you, in my image,

‘Oh! How I loved you;

love you still!’

So Loved

And God So Loved the World

the Other of you,
Your Father.

I made the first waking breath,
the infinite-finite moment,
the first pulse of love,
the flickering of desire;

Other than here and now,
Other than where and when,
the first breath, in the first waves
of growing light at dawn.

and the world was born:
waters and waves of light,

you, another,
Loving eyes,
light, sound, colour, cries;
the infinite-finite moment.
Loving eyes, searching:
eyes lost in love.

Oh, how I loved you,
love you.

And God called the light day,
and the darkness he called night,
and the heavens and the earth
are darkness and light,
here and there,
day and night,
and it was good;
and God so loved the world.

For God so loved the world
that he gave,
he came,
he shared,
and died,
as his own son.

that whoever should believe in him,

who came, shared and died;
sent from whatever dimensions into these three,
into its tiny inner darkness,
no bigger than this universe,
this hazelnut universe,
this mere infinity of three dimensions,
than which there is so much more;

should have eternal life.

For the turning of the wheels of space and time
are no more than the smooth rolling shell of the hazel.

And can he love his lost ones,
lost within the hazel shell?
And if it roll so tinily in his hand,
did he yet enter it?
And are we held in time?
And was he here,
in the bright day
in the kernel’s heart?

‘Love those who hate, bless those who curse, do good to those who spite.’

We must love the lost
who cannot escape,
the captives in that outer darkness
no bigger than a hazel shell:
those who did not believe,
cannot believe,
will not believe
in Him.

May the Lord bless you and keep you,
fallen away in the darkness.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
fallen away from the one true Person.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
you we brand as demons, lost and unloving,
and grant you his peace