“The scriptures never change, but the reader does”. Gee, that makes a lot of sense…. who said that? Actually I just said that. If it’s true, I’m sure someone else said it before me. All truth originates with God…. so we are not very original.
A few years ago I went to mass at St. Luke’s church in St. Louis…my parish as I was growing up back in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. I remember St. Luke’s as a huge Cathedral… beautiful and magnificent…I served mass there many times…I knew this church. As I walked in the door, I was surprised at how the church had shrunk. The details looked the same…the altar, the confessional where I had spent time with Msgr. McMahon and Fr. Frieberger, the side doors, the stone work, etc., but it was much smaller. Wow, what happened. Hmmmmmmm.
Well one thing different was me. I remember St. Luke’s as boy…. some 65 years ago. Today it was still beautiful, but not as big; the memories were there but a bit out of focus.
“The scriptures never change, but the reader does”. Sometimes I can think, “I’ve read that book of the bible or that chapter or that verse…I understand it, I know what it says…. and yet I’m continually changing.
As I’ve recently been reading the scripture I’m struck by the tenderness of God. God is tender; his actions toward us are tender. We are of great value to God. He loves us deeply and values us completely. No one is an “extra” to God…superfluous… second class…forgettable. We are each wonderfully made…of the greatest value. He knows our frame is weak and that we are even fragile. I guess that thought brings some insight to the parable of the Lord going after the lost sheep. It’s not about statistics and percentages…he doesn’t say, ”nice work Mr. Shepherd, you brought home 99 of the 100…you get an A+”. It’s not a case study at Business School.
This is very important. It’s important because we just don’t trust someone that we aren’t sure loves us and values us highly. We don’t trust someone we think might even distain us… or is disappointed in us. When we’re in our most vulnerable state because of sickness or poor decisions or circumstances, or sin, we need a tender savior to come to our aid. Jesus told the parable of the “tender” father of the prodigal son to illustrate this. When a doctor examines a patient in critical shape, he better be careful and tender, or he might make matters worse.
So, we are so blessed to have a God that loves us completely. And that love includes his tenderness toward us…a tenderness flowing from how greatly he respects and values each of his precious children. Let us turn to him with confidence built on the trust that God is treating us as his greatest treasure. And that is very good news.