I had an interesting Twitter conversation with David Henson. He's a blogger, Episcopalian priest, and contributor on one of my favorite podcasts: The Moonshine Jesus Show. David's main point is that Jesus rejected independence, focusing instead on being Immanuel, God with Us.
If Jesus rejected independence, what does that mean?
One of my favorite titles given to Jesus is Immanuel, which is Hebrew for "God with us." It has been a comforting thought for me, reassuring me that we are not alone, that God is with us no matter what. (Yes, I realize that the prophecy from Isaiah 7 did not specifically refer to Jesus and that the writer of Matthew used this prophecy to describe Jesus.)
However, could there be a reciprocation with this? Why would God want to be with us? Is there any need for God to be with us?
For some people, the answer is an immediate, "No." God doesn't need us. God created us, loves us, cares for us, but that is the extent of the matter.
What if it weren't? What if God did need us?
To me that would clarify many questions. Why did God create us? Why was Jesus here on Earth, sent by God? Why does God love us?
Could it be that not only we need God, but that God needs us?
We focus so much on being independent. We want to do things on our own. We celebrate Independence. We celebrate that imagined freedom. However, it has been my observation that independence is very lonely. Instead, we need each other. God also fills in part of that equation. God needs us just as much as we need God.
I view it very much as a parent with a child. I am a parent. I love my children. This love for them is a drive that cannot be quenched. I need to love my children. In many respects, could it also be that God needs us just as a parent needs his/her child?
There are so many images in the Bible for God showing love like a mother for her nursing infant. (Hosea 11:1-4 is a beautiful image that conveys this idea.)
I do not have a definitive answer on this topic, but it is an idea worth pursuing for me. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject.