The Wild Goose: God’s Love Poured Out
Sunday 4th June 2017 marked the beginning of our Getting to know the Holy Spirit series. Being that we celebrated the feast of Pentecost on Sunday, it was only appropriate that we began the session with Praise and Worship after which we watched episode 1 of the series titled The Wild Goose: God’s Love Poured Out. The video focused on encountering the Holy Spirit through God’s love as the narrator, Father Dave Pivonka, explained that the Scriptures can be summarised in three words: God is love. We ended with a tailored discussion based on pre-set questions and a reflection; keep reading for the juice!
The Character of God’s Love
Through watching this episode of The Wild Goose, we discover the greatest gift the Holy Spirit longs to give the Church today: Love! The concept of love as a gift of the Holy Spirit is represented to us in Romans 5:5 which says
“The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us”.
God’s love is satisfying, unending and accessible to anyone who seeks it as freedom, peace and spiritual intimacy result from a budding relationship with Him. This is a probable explanation for a popular quote by Saint Francis of Assisi:
“Oh God, you are enough for me”.
We are called to realise in 1 John 4: 18 that perfect love casts all fear out and that in viewing our life in comparison to others, something changes and becomes alive in us. Presented is the fact that there’s nothing you could do to make God love you more or less, even sins you consider grave and unforgiveable. We learn that the reception of God’s love in our lives may be limited by our incomplete surrender to Him, full of negative thoughts and worries.
Our faith is based on the premise of perfect and unconditional love as we discover that everyone is lovable through God’s revelation of our innate beauty and goodness.
God’s Love: Case in Point
The episode laid a real-life example of a Chinese woman who was raised to believe there was no God and had a personal encounter with His love. While in college, she studied Art with the hope of finding answers to these questions and began enquiring the purpose and meaning of life. It was revealed to her that Art is not capable of giving purpose and meaning to one’s life or even feeding the poor. Her revelation reached its peak when curiosity beckoned her into a Catholic Church where she found an inscription on the wall of 1 John 4: 8 which says “God is Love”. She immediately felt in her heart that God is real which birthed a feeling of completeness and satisfaction from His personal love for her.
Reference can also be drawn biblically to the story of the woman at the well in John 4: 4-39.
“Come see a man that told me everything I did”,
she said after confirming to Jesus Christ that she had no husband. What’s profound about this story is that women normally fetched water in the morning but this particular woman chose to come in the afternoon to avoid shame for living a promiscuous lifestyle. Jews and Samaritans did not mix and men at that time did not casually approach women; it would be a taboo for a Holy man to be seen associating with such. Our Lord’s interaction with her proved that even people of ill-repute can have a chance at salvation. This was the Samaritan woman’s ‘wow’ moment and she proceeded to share her experience as Jesus Christ’s disposition towards her proved that regardless of living in sin, she too can be worthy of drinking the living water.
Essentially, God’s love is responsible for reversing feelings of rejection and filling that inexplicable emptiness within our souls!
Our interactive segment was based on four discussion questions from The Wild Goose which touched the core of love in practice. What makes these answers so rich is the combination of replies from our cross-section of attendants including priests, men and women of different ages and ideologies.
Q: How does the reality of God being love change your view of God, love and yourself?
A: We should know and make a constant effort to remember that God loves us personally and perceive Him as a pure element of love and tenderness. The perception of God’s love prompts us to make a deliberate effort to be a full embodiment of a person that He loves, can give love or is capable of being loved by others.
Q: All “love” is not the same. Consider for a few minutes the meaning that today’s culture attaches to “love”. Compare this to the Love of God.
A: To some, love may be a mere feeling that passes with time. Others may perceive love as transactional – given and received upon fulfilment of a certain condition, for example, some people may view love to be synonymous to sex.
Today’s love does not appear sacrificial or unconditional and does not accommodate God’s original plan for love in the world. It merely exists to please the flesh and prompts notions of selfishness instead of selflessness. To love by God is to forgive and put our human emotions to the side.
Q: It is the Love of God that gives beauty and meaning to the human person. How do we experience this and share it?
A: As long as the Spirit of God lives in one person, he/she is considered beautiful regardless of any special needs or deformity as the Holy Spirit himself, radiates beauty and dignifies the human person.
If God’s love radiates through us, we should make an effort to touch others with it which necessitates healing and forgiveness with people we may have wronged or have wronged us in a friendship or relationship.
Q: What can you do to help facilitate a rediscovery of the Love of God and the dignity of the human person?
A: God’s love is very accessible and is not selective to anyone. On an interpersonal basis, we must understand that the more we give or show love, greater are the chances that we are transfigured into more loving people.
Practical Christianity: Fully Embracing God’s Love
At the end of The Wild Goose episode, Father Dave Pivonka urged that we ask to receive God’s love (through the Holy Spirit) again even if we have received it before and to engage in a relationship with the Holy Spirit to bring forth this love if we have never encountered it.
Our discussion also referred to the magnitude and purity of love in relationships that have the potential of evolving into a marriage as recognised by the Church. In this context, the purest form of love calls husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5: 25). Wives are also called to submit to their own husbands, as they would submit to the Lord (Ephesians 5: 22).
The greatest love story still remains the marvellous exchange that took place on the cross of Calvary when Jesus died for the redemption of our sins. It is true that we are incapable of using human capabilities to explain divine realities but if we understood every mystery then we will no longer be human.
Just remember, God will always love you regardless of your past, present or future – Pennies, whether shiny or dirty, have the same worth!
Will you join us at our next session?