Why do the Flames exist? Part 1 – Who is God?
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:7-12 (NIV)
Why do the flames exist? Running a soccer club is a lot of work, why bother with all the effort? Who started the flames? Couldn’t we all just play for our local teams? Why does a church have a football team?
When we were putting together the Chaplain’s Chat for this the first week, it occurred to us that despite being a church-based team, we didn’t actually have a part of the bible that we could point people to and say “here is the reason that the flames exist”. So we went and chose one!
The bible has two parts; the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament takes place before Jesus was born, and the New Testament speaks of Jesus’ life in the four gospels, and also includes letters from leaders to the churches at the time. The book of 1 John is one of these letters, and in it we get a picture of who God is, who Jesus is, and what that means for us.
This week we are looking at who God is, and whilst entire books have been written about this topic, in these verses the things we read about God are that “love comes from God…God is love…he loved us…” The christian God, the God of the bible, the God the Flames are on about, is a God of love. He is the author of love. It says He created love when He created the world.
This idea is complex, as it revolves around believing that there is something bigger than us that created everything and is at work in everything. And of course, to clarify, we aren’t talking about romantic love. We are talking about that universal idea of love that’s really hard to articulate. The sort a parent holds for their child, or a craftsperson for their work. The sort that moves people to action during other’s misfortune and that looks past the qualities of another person, how likeable they are and what they can offer. The sort of love that makes you proud of someone, or delight in them, or self sacrificially do something for them. Even though our world today doesn’t like to use the word love, it’s the stuff that binds together true relationships and friendships. But it’s also a lot more than that, the love the bible is talking about here is love on steroids; perfect love from a perfect God.
See, these bible verses tell us that God is love. Love is defined by God.
Bare with me, but it’s kind of like flavours right? Nachos flavour is created and defined by the ingredients that combine to make Nachos. You can’t get that flavour without those ingredients (unless you are Doritos ©), and those ingredients are always going to give those flavours (unless you can’t cook). The two; the creator and the created, are inseparable and their definitions intertwined.
In the same way, this passage from the bible is telling us that God’s very nature is love. Ie. if you explore the claims of the bible about God, you find love. If you examine the actions of God, you uncover love. And if you decide that the God I am talking about is the true and only God, your response should be love.
But how does this relate to the Flames?
This passage tells us in verse 11, that “since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”; our response to God ought to be to love one another. And the Flames tries to do that in our little community whilst we play football. What does that look like? Well that is the topic of the next couple of weeks of Chaplains Chat; ‘who is Jesus’ and ‘What does this mean for the Flames’. But for this week; God. Is. Love.
If you have gotten to the end of this and would like to think about this more, please shoot me a message or come along with us to church at Barneys this Sunday at 6.30pm. We’d be stoked to have you along!
Joe Hockey, club chaplain
first published 7-4-2018