I’ve been making jam – tons of the stuff – and chutney too. Like most gardeners and allotment holders, I am blessed at this time of year with one or two bumper crops and this year its redcurrants and gooseberries. Looking at the prices of a punnet of gooseberries in the shops, I reckon I must have had about fifty quid’s worth just from one bush. Trouble is, they all come at once…but what a gift.
Depending on whether you are a ‘glass half empty or glass half full’ kind of person, you might look at the dilemma either as a gift to be joyfully accepted or a problem to be solved. God’s love is a bit like that.
Some people try to make the argument that God is a ‘problem’ and spend a great deal of time and effort trying to explain God away logically and rationally. Some view God as someone to blame for all of our problems both globally and personally. How to deal with violent extremism is one such example, i.e. ‘if we didn’t have religion, we wouldn’t have the problem’. Some are so busy trying to solve problems in their own life they don’t know how to ask God for help.
Is God’s abundant love for each and every one of us, a gift to be accepted or a problem to be solved? Even Christian people of faith who most of the time are able to see God’s gift of love in their lives might occasionally have a bit of a wobble – that’s OK, because our faith has to be tested from time to time for us to be sure of it. But of this we can be assured – God’s love is so plentiful we can’t even begin to harvest the whole crop on our own. So isn’t sharing it with others, in whatever ways are presented to us, the obvious thing to do?
‘Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.’ (Malachi 3:10)
Julie Fay, link officer for the Diocese of El Camino Real