Most kitchens have two kinds of drinking glasses: the special glasses like crystal goblets and the ordinary glasses which are usually mismatched. When guests come over, we bring out the best because we want to make a good impression. But if a friend comes over, we grab the Star Wars glass with Jabba the Hut. Would that end our relationship? No. In truth, I am honoring you because only family uses these glasses. I’d hand you the inexpensive glass only if I knew for sure that you accept me and that we are past the place where we must impress each other. It’s an unwritten rule: the more secure the relationship, the fewer the formalities.
On first dates people are beautifully dressed and sit up straight. They carefully guard every word. Every detail matters; attire, gestures, posture, words. It’s because this is someone you are trying to impress.
But in the real world such people get married and gradually stop behaving the way they did on first dates. They put on weight, forgo the make-up and say things they wouldn’t and shouldn’t. But that is how love works. Gradually we feel comfortable to serve each other a drink out of the favorite glass or whatever glass is the first grab instead of the crystal. We are no longer on trial and we feel safe to be who we really are.
Therefore, long term security is far richer than the ups and downs of falling in love. That’s how God’s love works. If religion is a never-ending job interview or first date, we need to be on guard every moment and never give God the slightest reason to turn away from our imperfections, which then makes us feel miserable. Everything in us screams, “This isn’t love, this is a trial with no guarantees it will work in the end!”
But there’s an alternative. We can believe God’s declarations that we are so deeply loved and accepted that we can let our guard down. Which means when you drop into meet with the Lord, you know you are going to get a warm welcome, an invitation to stay and the assurance that when it comes to His relationship with you, God is way past formalities. You are family. In fact, His name isn’t God, it’s Abba, “Daddy.”
-Rev Dr William Lewis