The past three days I have written about different aspects of quality time. The first day on Chapter 3, we discussed how quality time is not for everybody. The second day we discussed how people who like quality time may not understand others or appreciate others who need to hear different love languages. Yesterday the focus was on how a quality time person can appreciate a touch love language person.
Today let’s try to understand the fact that God desires to spend quality time with His creatures. Dr. Chapman says “that this is one of the unique aspects of the Christian faith.”
The Bible is full of verses that encourage spending time with God. “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:6] “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” [2 Timothy 3:16] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. [John 15: 1-5]
In short, pray, study and be connected, as branches are to the vine. With that connection, we can do things that glorify God.
Skeptics may point to places in the Old Testament when God seemed distant, judgmental and punitive. Maybe he was all of those things but God was still seeking a way to be with man. Man just could not respond to God’s urgings. Man could not understand the approach that God was taking.
I was watching the NBC series “AD” the other night. It is what I would call a good production. I am neither a Bible scholar or a film critic, but the acting was good, the visual display was high quality and it seemed to be true to the Bible [as true as any television show can be].
Of course, one of the most dramatic scenes was the death of Jesus. At Jesus’ death, the earth shook and the temple veil was torn. The high priests tried to overlook the significance of all this because they were trying to maintain their power over Jerusalem. But the tearing of the veil is God’s decreasing the distance between God and man.
Before the death of Jesus, the inner part of the temple could only be entered by the high priest; regular folks could only use the outer part of the temple. Through the death of Jesus, the barrier between man and God is breached. Jesus gave His life so we could be connected with God. The veil was a constant reminder that our sin made us unfit to be in the presence of God. The high priest had to sacrifice animals to atone for our sins. Jesus came to establish that connection, that quality time that some desire with God.
Indeed this was the theme of another experience I had with St. John last year. We read the Bible all the way through as a church [narrative version called The Story]. I always think it is of great benefit to have an overarching idea to provide some structure, especially for such an imposing book like the Bible. A sense of structure helps one to read and understand. The Story provided that for me. From the walks in the Garden of Eden that God took with Adam and Eve to the tree of life showing up again in Revelation 22: 1-5, I saw for the first time that the whole Bible is God desiring to be with his creatures—man.
You can truly see the significance of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; with God reaching out his hand, reaching out to connect to man.