Dale Appleby

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Weekly Reflections

Too crowded? 12 Sep 10

Too crowded?

Joy and I have just got back from a holiday in Coral Bay -  where they had sunshine. We camped in a tent in a camp ground that must have held 500 people. Noise travels a long way at night so there were a few nights when various disputes broke out about who should be quiet.

Living with other people is often a strain, and camp grounds show the good and the bad of living at close quarters. Ordinary homes are similar although usually relations are helped by the mutual family love that keeps the family together.

Having a boarder or sharing a flat is different. In the absence of family love a bit more effort seems to be required to be together in a small space.

Love is one of the motives that leads people to want to live together, and the thing that sustains such living. Amazingly, it is a motive that God admits to. Imagine God needing to live with humans. No that is too hard to imagine. God doesn’t need humans.


Imagine God wanting to live with humans. Why would he? Love presumably. One of the most stunning things Jesus ever said was that he and the Father would take up residence in the lives of those who loved him. How does this work? Simply like this: Jesus said those who love Jesus would be loved by his Father, and the Father and Jesus would live with those who love Jesus.

Is that good? Or does it sound a bit crowded? Is it better to keep God in heaven and talk to him long-distance? It is a matter of love I suppose. For those who really love Jesus, being with him – having him living in our lives – is the greatest thing this side of heaven.

But his presence comes with adjustments. Having someone living at such close quarters changes us. We can’t live on our own anymore. We can’t do what we want anymore. Actually we don’t want to. We want to go everywhere and do everything with him. We want to do what he wants and to be like him. The same applies to church.


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