What do you think our greatest need is as humans? Of course, your answer might depend on your circumstances and where you live, but we all have things we need for basic survival – like food, water, safety – and things for day-today functioning – housing, warmth, clothing.
We might add that we need health or fulfilling work, education or communication. It’s difficult to imagine life without these being met, but none of these is our greatest need. Our greatest need is to belong. Because our greatest fear is isolation and our deepest dread is loneliness.
This is hard-wired into us, because God made us for relationship. Love, kindness, compassion, care, support and connection are what we long for most. They are also what we are worst at, because our hearts are curved in on themselves.
God’s heart is arched towards us. He made us for himself and nothing, apart from our choice, will keep him from us. He moves heaven and earth by coming for us. Taking risk after risk, he draws close. He comes as one of us, a normal birth brought about in a miraculous way.
He teaches in a way we have never heard, and lives a life totally in line with what he says. Jesus loves his enemies, turns the other cheek, forgives, trusts, and cares for the last, the lost and the least.
Our isolation is truly ended as he is isolated. But what we do when God comes near – when the God who simply wants us back at the centre of his heart comes into our space? We act to banish him, in an act of supreme cruelty.
As Jesus suffers and dies, he mends what is broken between us. Our selfishness caused this death. The breach between us and God is experienced by him – and it kills him. He has never experienced this isolation from his Father before. But he chooses it, for us.
If this death was the end we would be utterly isolated. We would have banished God from his world.
But something happened. The dead Jesus is raised to life. Not the old life – but the life of the future. Resurrection life. Death cannot beat God, hatred does not have the last word, Jesus was dead and is now alive.
Jesus is alive – alive to forgive us, help us, speak to us and inspire us – alive to live his life in us. Alive to end the isolation of the world through us. And he does this through his Word, the Bible, and through his people, the church.
Death cannot beat God, hatred does not have the last word, Jesus was dead and is now alive
Being a Christian isn’t something you can do on your own. We need the presence of his Holy Spirit and the presence of others who know they are loved by God and live their whole lives in that light.
Here is what we are made for. Through Jesus Christ we are in relationship with God and a universal, worldwide family. And everyone is welcome to belong.