Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is power in separation. The builders of the atom bomb knew that as a fact when they succeeded in splitting atoms. And yet, there are things that no separating force can divide:

God’s attachment to His creation

More powerful than the splitting of atoms, more powerful than all negative forces put together, is the power of God’s love.

In Jesus we see God’s love acted out. Jesus shows us in a million ways how God loves us. His follower John once wrote that our world is too small to carry the amount of books that had to be written to describe Jesus’s life on Earth. Yes, our world of misunderstandings, pettiness and warfare is much too small to conceive of a love that generous. The love of God is counter intuitive and counter cultural. It is all invasive and all inclusive. It is a love that stops nowhere and goes everywhere – and even embraces mortal enemies. Jesus prayed for His torturers before He died and said (Luke 23:34a):

Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’”

I rest my case.

God will not give up on loving us, not in a million years. It is something to remember in our worst hour. His love puts us back together and heals our brokenness. His love is both soothing and infectious. Inspired by His generous affections, we go out and do the same. We spread His love. And it all starts with receiving His.

“All you need is love,
Love is all you need”               
Paul McCartney, John Lennon

Galatians 6:1: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

It is a modern-day miracle that Jewish identity persisted even after the Jewish population had lost their home country and had spread out all over the globe. A great example of preserving their cultural identity is the reintroduction of the Hebrew language. The process of the Hebrew language revival began in October of 1881, as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and his friends agreed to exclusively speak Hebrew in their conversations. As a result, the language, which had not been spoken as a mother tongue since the second century CE, once again became the national language of Israel.

To protect their integrity, Jewish upbringing emphasized separation: stay away from that, avoid mingling with these. This approach served two purposes:

  1. Maintain Jewish identity;
  2. Avoid disintegrating into foreign cultures

While this protective mode has worked very well to survive all kinds of cultural invasions, the same approach would eventually lead to a dead end. It is quite sterile to remain culturally on an island. When Jesus came along, He mingled with everybody; He did not stay away from foreigners or outsiders, and He had relations with all sorts of troubled people; this was highly counter-cultural from a conservative Jewish perspective. After His death and resurrection, the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the citizens of Galatia (in modern-day Turkey). In his letter he recommends reconciliation, just as Jesus would have done, but he also issues a stern warning not to stumble into the same pitfalls that had previously caused the friction. “Watch yourselves”, Paul wrote, “or you also may be tempted.”

Restoring relationships is never easy; in fact, separating is much easier than reconciling. A separation is precisely defined: here are the boundary lines; those are the walls and fences; do not cross. – That’s what separation is all about. – Reconciliation, on the other hand, is a whole lot messier.

Restoring relationships require a lot of courage and wisdom, and we need God’s Spirit to guide us in this delicate matter; in the process we shed prejudice and pride, since misinformation almost always leads to miscommunication. Jesus carries no such baggage. There is no labeling or defensiveness in the Son of God.

The Holy Spirit aims to connect. Building bridges supersedes burning them; getting back together is far better than erecting walls; and reconciliation always beats separation.

“Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down” – Paul Simon