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prodig_zpse211d35cSomething that it would pay us to bear in mind. We’ve all stressed it here many times, but perhaps it is something we should be reminded of, particularly as our political systems seem to be in a sense tearing themselves apart, not least because Christianity in less noted in public life than it usually has been. From Fr. Aidan Kimel, writing in Eclectic Orthodoxy.

The love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for human beings is unconditional. This fundamental truth of the gospel bears repeating. It bears repeating because we Christians, clergy and laity, seem to forget it so easily. Yes, we know all the words—”God is love,” “Christ died for the ungodly,” “This is my body which is broken for you,” “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed”—and we can recite from heart the parables of the prodigal son, the shepherd and the lost sheep, the woman and the lost coin, as well as the stories of Jesus and the paralytic and of the woman caught in adultery—yet for whatever reasons we seem to prefer a different narrative. It goes something like this:

God is angry with us, and he’s been angry with us since the day we were born. But if we repent of our sins, he will change his mind, forgive us, and give us eternal life, as long as we continue to believe in him and avoid mortal sins. But we need to be careful, because if we trip up, God will turn on us at a moment’s notice.

Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants tell different versions of the story; but the popular narrative remains constant: God is a God of conditional love. If we fulfill the conditions he specifies, he will be to us loving and merciful; if we do not, he will be to us wrathful and punishing. God is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Which one we meet depends on our performance.

And so I repeat the fundamental truth of the gospel: the love of God for human beings is unconditional. God does not love us because of anything we have done. He does not love us because we are virtuous or obedient or kind; nor does he cease to love us when we fail to love as we should or when we disobey his commandments. He does not cease to love us even when we commit evil. God’s love for us is unconditional, unmerited, unqualified, unreserved, absolute, immutable. We cannot earn it, no matter how hard we try; we cannot lose it, no matter how hard we try. God does not change his mind. He is eternally and hopelessly in love with the creatures he made in his image.

Considerably more at Finding the God who is Love

How easy it is for us to forget this, as the events of our world, and yes our churches swirl about our heads.