(Part III of a sermon preached by the Rev. James A. Rhone on July 27, 1986.)
Par for the course of life is a possible perfection: it is to love the way God loves. The kind of love God which is includes all, everyone. It is a love not measured or limited by the character of the objects of His love. It is uncalculating, never a strategy for serving His own ends. God does not love in order to win friends and influence people, He does not love because there is something in it for Him. Instead. God loves from a heart of unconquerable benevolence and invincible goodwill. Thus, the perfection to which we are called is a functional perfection; to realize, to complete the purpose for which we were created and sent into the world – par! We were created to be like God.
What is God like? I’ll tell you. His primary concern is a constant seeking of your and my highest good regardless of what we do to Him. That’s right – mock Him, beat Him, place a crown of thorns on Him, spit on Him, nail Him to a cross, piece Him with a spear – still, He is unwearied in forgiveness, still His heart can onlycare, love.
Par for the course of life, the perfection for which we are intended, is to become godly or god-like, and the only thing which makes us like God is the agapelove which never ceases to care for persons no matter what those persons do to it. We realize true selfhood, we enter upon Christian perfection, we become completed persons when we learn to forgive as God forgives, when we learn to love as God loves.
Paul describes “par” for the Christian community, the Church, in Ephesians. It is “…. mature manhood…. the stature of the fullness in Christ.” The eternal mission all Christians is that we reach a maturity – we reach “par” measured by the pattern of Christ. God calls us to be persons through whom Christ may live again; to be a community where, like a healthy body, we are obedient to the head, the brain. Then it can be said of us as was said of our ancestors in the faith; see how they love one another!
That is par for the course of life.