By Becky Ahlberg
One of the universal truths we consider when we gather around the Communion table each week is to remember the amazing love of God. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin” (1 John 4:10). God incarnate showed his love in his willingness to bear the shame, endure the cross, and be the bridge that brings us back into relationship with him. All these things are illustrations of his indescribable love. One of the first Scriptures most of us memorized is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
This love is unfathomable. And yet for centuries people have tried. Charles Wesley made his famous try in the hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” The hymn is a litany questions about Jesus’ sacrifice, and after each stanza comes this refrain, “Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God shouldst die for me?” That is the unanswerable question: Why?
About 30 years ago I asked one of the more precocious 10-year-old boys in the children’s choir to prepare the Communion meditation for our next family worship service. We worked on it together, and he was ready.
On that Sunday, he got up and just stood there looking frozen. I asked myself, Should I get up. Should I help him get started?
He finally said, “You know, I have this thing all ready, but I don’t think I’m going to use it.” Now I froze! He just went right on . . . “I just started thinking, this doesn’t make any sense. Why would God do this? Do you think it makes any sense? Then I started thinking my mom does stuff all the time that I don’t understand, but I know she loves me. So let’s take Communion and remember God loves us . . . even if we don’t know why.”
Out of the mouths of babes!
Today we celebrate amazing love. Charles Wesley’s words still ring true.
Becky Ahlberg serves as executive director of My Safe Harbor in Anaheim, California.