How deep the Father’s love for us

One reason I have not blogged for a while is that I like the picture I put up in my last blog in May.  I had taken it some years ago, an outside view of the Church of The Good Shepherd, in Muscat, Oman.  When I saw it this May, it looked a bit run down, I hope it will soon look as good again.  Fast-growing trees outside have been allowed to spoil the view from inside – through the clear etched glass picture of the shepherd clinging to the side of a mountain rescuing a lost sheep, to the real mountains of Oman seen in the distance.  I hope the trees will soon be replaced with a clipped hedge, there is plenty of potential for more tree-planting anywhere else on the church site.  I accept of course, that it is a hard job keeping buildings in good condition in the tropics.

Another place of worship has been in the news this week – the Baitul-Futuh mosque in London, near where I recently lived.  A boy set a fire in ancillary buildings, which will probably need a complete rebuild.  Fortunately the main worship area was not seriously damaged and prayers are to be said there as usual today.

No earthly building lasts for ever of course.  My hobby of sand-castle building reminds me of that (I must ensure this blog soon has one or two pictures of such structures.

But if you have time, listen with me to a hymn by Stuart Townend, “How deep the Father’s love for us…”  Here is a good rendering of it:

The words of the hymn are not a perfect theological treatise.  Contemporary western culture rightly rejects dominant fatherhood but the fatherhood in this hymn is anything but dominant, so I have no problem there.  Maybe though there is just a bit too much of what Steve Chalk calls “cosmic child abuse.”  Of course God in heaven does not demand the death of his Son on earth, Muhammad was quite correct in calling Christians away from heresy.  Instead, “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word,” (Heb. 1:3). Jesus’ two natures are not “mixed together” (Eutychianism), nor are they combined into a new God-man nature (Monophysitism). They are separate yet act as a unit in the one person of Jesus. This is called the Hypostatic Union.

Enough of jargon, I like best the verse “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)

200 yards from the Baitul-Futuh mosque complex, is the Morden Islamic Centre.  The first is the national/ international HQ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, with a local membershp of many thousands (millions worldwide).  The second is a Deobandi/ Sunni mosque, with a membership around 1,000.  Both dwarf the local Christian communities, but I still trust, through prayer, that God the Shepherd will find all His lost sheep, and bring them home.