Asking any sports fan about his/her favorite team, you would hear more stats than were of the thinnest interest, each player’s plays, their strengths, their scoring totals .  .  . But, do they know these athletes? They’ve likely never met, but there’s a fandom connection, nevertheless. Your favorite barista at your daily coffee haunt is a relationship in that your ‘usual’ and your name are remembered, but beyond that, you have little information about them. In the building where the church office is located (and where we gather for Sunday services) there are a few dozen other members including massage therapists, a CPA, several tax consultants, a few investment officers, a solar panel industries rep, a beautician, a photographer, a home improvements scheduler, a real estate agent, to name a few. Since we each have our own space, we have the opportunity to get to know each other at a weekly social gathering on Wednesday afternoons, where bits and pieces of stories are revealed. Even so, these remain, for the most part, acquaintances. Members of a large church family are often just face acquaintances, maybe with name recognition. To develop a deep and genuine relationship takes an investment of shared personal details, both the good and the bad, over a span of time. These relationships can produce our good, or best, friends. And, at each level of friendship, greater appreciation of mutual individuality is gained, along with a happy tolerance of each others’ many idiosyncrasies.

Likewise, the people of Israel grew in understanding of Yahweh over the centuries. As we’ve recently reviewed, their meeting at Mt. Sinai cemented in them holy fear of their most holy God. Reading through King David’s poetry revealed the tender heart of God for relationship with His people. Reading the Prophets showed God’s jealousy for His people, His anger at those who oppose and oppress them, and His accompanying gentleness and mercy and forgiveness that are available to all who call on Him. God is not just wrathful, nor just kind, nor just longsuffering. He is all of these things.

In 2024, we continue to be invited to a fuller understanding of the God Who has lovingly swept  us up and away from the grip of sin and the grave. None of us has complete mastery of the subject of God. None of us has yet been 100% remade. We are all messy works in progress. And, Hallelujah! God ‘sees’ us in all our stuff (fill in yours here) and He beams with ecstatic joy all around and in us. To Him, we’re a party. To Jesus, we’re the sanctified guests of honor at his banquet. To the Holy Spirit, we are Kingdom ambassadors in the making. In other words, the entire Godhead, Father, Son, and Spirit are for us and with us and involved in our God-directed, meticulous restoration. What a God-initiated, God-sustained, relationship! Excited to see y’all tomorrow at 10 AM, 3 PM, 4 PM.  PD