Is God moved? Does he feel pleasure, pain, passion? I found myself wondering this as I was praying this morning.
Some people, wanting to distance God from the mess of human life and emotions, say no. God the Father is unchanging and unmovable. His perfection requires that he is not moved.
Others disagree, and I’m with them. Throughout the Old Testament we see a God who responds. He is pleased with his creation, he hears the cries of his people in slavery, he is described by the prophets as grieved by the evil done by people, and saddened by the punishment they have to endure. The Old Testament suggests God is moved.
This impression is only deepened when we look at Jesus. Who joins in wedding parties and provides the best wine, who weeps at the side of graves and as he looks at peoples suffering in Jerusalem.
God is not cold and distant, he is moved by his creation. Words like laugh, cry, mourn, may just be human constructions, they may not fully describe the depth of feeling God has for us. Nevertheless, I think God does feel.
At the start of of Matthew’s gospel Jesus is baptised. The writer describes how at that point a voice from heaven cries out “this is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased!” Maybe I’m speculating too much here, but perhaps this is the God-who-is-moved shouting out for joy and pride, unable to contain himself when he looks at his boy.
All of this makes for a good basis for mission. God is moved by his creation and is looking for people to celebrate, protect and restore it with him.