I thought I'd share the following. It was written for our church newsletter and inspired by that book: Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf. (Who says you can't communicate theology in plain English?)
Isn’t it a wonderful thing to be embraced by someone who loves us? A mother or father. A good friend or a sister or brother we have not seen in a long time. It not only makes us feel special, it also makes us feel as if the other person is part of our life and we are part of theirs.
God’s embrace is the best embrace of all. And what’s more, God knows how to give us a proper embrace.
First, God opens his arms. By opening his arms, God makes room for us in his life. God wants to include everyone in his life and Kingdom. Jesus on the cross, arms open to all, crucified for all, is the most beautiful and moving picture of God’s open arms.
Then God stands and waits. Although God desperately wants us to be with him, even so he waits. God waits because he respects us; he created us with free will and he does not force us to embrace him. He waits for us to respond to his open arms.
When we respond, God embraces us. There is no such thing as a one-person embrace; it is an act that must shared. When we accept God’s embrace, we begin to share in the Body of Christ, which is the church community.
Then God lets go. It is not that God abandons us. This letting go is also an act of respect, for if God did not let go, we would be prisoners. God created each one of us to be unique, and he lets us go so that we can find our true identity in Christ.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18)