Thy kingdom Come Ascension to Pentecost Novena
The God who gives and goes on giving
1 John 3:11 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
St John has a ‘WOW!’ moment in today’s verse. It is encouraging that even the apostles sometimes struggle for words to express just how great God is. His love, His compassion, His glory, His understanding, His coming to us in the Lord Jesus Christ leave John almost lost for words. He finally settles on a way to sum up God’s giving in creation and His giving of Himself. The expression he uses means something like, ‘love from another world”.
Our human understanding can’t get our brains round it, but the wonderful thing is that we can know it, receive it, rest in it, enjoy it, and share it. Genesis tells us that mankind was made in God’s image. John is now telling us that we have, if we have believed in Christ, been born again as God’s children; and that truth simply blows his mind.
My own father died when I was five, so I have few memories of him. In photos, we look quite alike; but if I am ever tempted to doubt whose child I am I have only to open the filing cabinet and read my birth certificate. Today’s verse with its great, ‘And that is what we are!’ is the Christian’s birth certificate. Our assurance is based not in our own feelings, but in the effective word of God. No wonder the modern translation uses lavish to describe the generous, costly, self-giving love of God.
Pray today that the five you are holding in your heart will receive and rest in the love of the Father, which constantly calls them home to become His children. Pray that they will find in Him the peace and place in His family for which we were created and redeemed.
Living the kingdom, living as sons and daughters of the king, means sharing that generosity. At the feeding of the 5,000 there were 12 baskets full of the leftovers. Jesus tells His disciples as He looks at the hungry crowds, “You give them something to eat.’ He still does. As we live out the generous overflowing love of the kingdom then the hungry will be fed, the lonely befriended, prisoners visited, and the poor understand the good news – The Very Revd Bob Key
Note: The Thy Kingdom Come Novena for 2023 is focused on verses from St John’s First Letter. Thy Kingdom Come is an annual invitation and encouragement to Christians and Churches, across the world, to seek the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we might live out and share the Kingdom of God.- The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby &The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell