Mt 11:16-19, 25-30
We make things more complicated than they need be. Karl Barth the most influential Christian theologian of the twentieth century wrote many books with his major work being the 6 million-word, thirteen-volume, Church Dogmatics. When asked to summarize his faith in a few words, he is reputed to have said, “Jesus loves me, this I know, and the Bible tells me so.” Although it is profound and complex, the Christian message is at its heart very simple. The key message is that God reaches out to every person on earth with generous, all-embracing love. It’s so simple that we can’t believe it. We insist on doing something to earn God’s favour. We want to save ourselves. We keep looking for the answer when it has already been given. We are not satisfied with the simple message; we have to make it complicated. We can’t make up our minds. Jesus said of the people in his own generation that they were like children playing games. Someone suggests playing weddings: “Nah, don’t want to,” they say. Someone suggests that they play funerals: “Nah, don’t want to,” they reply. We keep looking around for some guru or expert, someone who has special insight or wisdom to tell us what to believe, when all the time we have the simple, straight-forward teaching of Jesus to love God and love neighbour as we love ourselves. We find the idea that God loves everyone hard to swallow. God must have favourites. Loving those who are opposed to God, loving those who say that there is no God, loving people of other religions or races – it’s hard to comprehend. Do we really have to love our enemies like God does? And when we hear the words, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” we tend to say, “That’s nice!” but go on making burdens for ourselves, fretting and worrying about many things, wondering does God really care?
- What makes us baulk at the message of God’s love?
- What is the difference between a simple faith and a simplistic approach to faith ?
- All too often we talk about God’s forgiveness, but we don’t live that forgiveness. Why not?
- What does Matthew 11:28-30 mean to you?