From Nadia Bolz-Weber’s comments on NPR’s On Being:
I loved the emphasis on grace, the fact that God always is coming to us. There’s nothing we do to make our way to God. God is continually coming to us and interrupting our lives and wanting to be known. And I had experienced that to be true. And I was so grateful when I stumbled into a place where I didn’t have to like remove half my brain in order to believe the things that they were telling me to believe. And it just felt true to me already. . . .
I think a lot of people, when there’s suffering, when there’s tragedy, they say, well, where is God in the midst of this? Most of God is unknowable, and we should probably be grateful for that — it’s in that like I want to know, right? . . .
You know what the final judgment is to me? It’s God dying on the cross and saying: forgive them; they know not what they’re doing. That’s an eternally valid statement to me. That is God’s judgment upon us. And so, to me, if God could bear that kind of suffering and only respond in forgiveness and love, that’s the God who is present in a devastating hurricane, in that room with an abused child. So to me, God has come into the world and is bearing that, not causing it.
From a recent news story of Pope Francis:
The reason for our hope, he said, is this: “God is with us, and God still trusts us! But think about this: God is with us and God still trusts in us! But God the Father is generous eh? God comes to dwell with men, choosing the Earth as his home to be with man himself and so He can be found there where man spends his days in joy or in pain. Therefore, earth is no longer just a ‘valley of tears’, but is the place where God himself has pitched His tent, it is the meeting place between God and men, of solidarity between God and men.”
“God wanted to share our human condition to the point of becoming one with us in the person of Jesus, who is true God and true man But there is something even more amazing.” God “pitched his tent” not in an ideal world, but “in this real world, marked by many good and bad things, marked by divisions, evil, poverty, oppression and war.” He “chos[e] to live our story as it is, with all the weight of its limitations and its dramas. In doing so, he demonstrated in an unsurpassable way, his merciful inclination, full of love for humans.”
“He is God-with-us: do you believe this?” the Pope asked the crowd, to which they responded “Yes!” “But,” the Holy Father continued, “let us make this confession: Jesus is God-with-us! All together: Jesus is God-with-us!” Francis thanked faithful for their enthusiastic response.” “Jesus is God-with-us, always and forever with us in the sufferings and sorrows of history. Christ’s birth is the manifestation that God is once and for all, on mankind’s side, to save, to raise us up again from the dust of our miseries, our difficulties, our sins.”
“This is where the great gift of the Child of Bethlehem comes: He brings us spiritual energy, an energy that helps us not to drown in our labours, our despair, our sadness, because it is an energy that warms and transforms the heart. The birth of Jesus, in fact, brings us the good news that we are loved immensely and individually by God, and not only does He bring us this love, He gifts it to us, He communicates it!”