Friday Week 20 Year II

“Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind!” Tall order! “Love your neighbour as you love yourself!” Fat chance! I don’t have to know myself very well to know how far short I fall in the love department. The longer I love God the deeper I know how little my love is next to God’s extravagance, loyalty, passion. Knowing that is Hell some days.

The Hebrew name for Hell was Gehenna, after the valley outside Jerusalem where rubbish was tipped and fires burned and it was said that, once upon a time, children had been sacrificed. No wonder Ezekiel’s people had a terror of tombs and dead bodies. Not just our horror-film-fed squeamishness but a bone-deep, religious, aversion. Ezekiel is sent in his vision to walk in a valley of dead bones. Hell. Horror, waste, desolation. It speaks of death and hopelessness. It echoes with disgust and sheer god-forsakenness.
We each have our own Gehenna, our own half-ignored valley of death, and we all have God’s pledge that even these bones can live, even what we have given up for dead can be a home to God’s life-giving spirit.
If even hell can’t resist God’s life-giving love I find a seed of hope for my own love-resisting heart. I find God looking at me, knowing me bone-deep … and against all odds loving me, liking me into life.