“All religion is of life; and the life of religion is to do good.” - Doctrine of Life §1
Kempton New Church

September 2013

Dear Neighbor,

You are welcome to worship at the Kempton New Church, Sundays at 10:00 A.M. You are also welcome to stop by the Autumn Weekends booth on Hawk Mountain Road for some good food and good company on October weekends, 11:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.

When you think of God, what comes to mind? Who comes to mind?

When some people think of God, the first thing that comes to mind is Divine judgment—even anger or vengeance against the wicked. Some people do not think God is angry, but they still believe that He is bound by Divine justice to punish the evil, and that is His most important characteristic.

For Christians, the primary source for knowledge of God is His Word, the Bible. The Sacred Scriptures have many layers of meaning. Judgment certainly is a part of the picture of God. But the primary quality of God is Love. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God loves us so much that He Himself came into the world. He wrapped His infinite, Divine love, wisdom and power in an ordinary human form, provided through Mary—“His only begotten Son”—so that He could be with us without overwhelming us. He came to show Himself to us and lead us to the eternal happiness for which He created us. Now we know who God is: He is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Now we can have a close, personal relationship with Him.

The Lord God seeks to be joined with us in a loving relationship and in this way to make us happier and happier forever. But love must be given and received freely—it can’t be forced. So the Lord warns us that if we turn away from Him, He cannot help us, because we refuse His help. We refuse the blessings of learning to love others and do good for them. Instead we choose selfishness: we choose short-term, shallow pleasures at the expense of long-term, deep satisfaction. The Lord intensely longs to free us from such delusions and misery and lead us to eternal life. That’s why He sometimes appears angry, even vengeful: to give us a sharp warning of the consequences of bad choices—not because He is angry with us, but because we might refuse to let Him save us.

The Lord loves us, more than we can imagine. We can love Him in return and enter into the blessings of His love. He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). By His power, we can repent of our sins and learn to love one another as He loves us. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15).

Rev. Lawson M. Smith