armsWe sang the song “O Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship a few Sundays ago in church, and I was struck by this refrain:

The Father’s arms are open wide.

As those words were woven into the lyrics and repeated throughout, the powerful meaning of that image filled me with comfort and confidence. No matter where I have been, what I have done, when I return to him in repentance, God’s arms are always open wide to receive me.

There is a moment in the youtube version of the song link below where the audience sings these words in unison, and I can feel the collective relief and unburdening in the people’s voices. Take a listen, if you have a moment here:

I am reminded of the scene in the story of the Prodigal Son when the father sees his wayward son from a distance and runs with arms open wide to embrace him. At the very heart of our relationship with God is a longing and desire to be wrapped in his embrace and surrounded by the peace, security and strength only he can provide.

On Good Friday, God’s Son Jesus took this image one step further when his arms were opened wide, stretched across the beams of a cross, to show us that he loves us “this much”—even to death—that we might be forgiven and saved forever from  all our waywardness.

Every time we hug one another, let these embraces be small reminders of the arms of our God and the arms of Christ outstretched for us in the deepest of love.

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