Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Defining God

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.
                                                                                                   Hebrews 12:28-29

One of the most difficult tasks I have is to identify God at work in the world today.  This is difficult because in a way, this is defining God.  I recognize that I am limited.  I am shaped by my environment, my culture, and my family each of which are not mutually exclusive.

As a preacher, I have to be aware of bias.  Am I reshaping God in my own image?  Does God care about the things that I care about or do I care about the things that God cares about?  Although this question seems like it ventures into the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin, it is actually a little more profound.  My hope is that I continually allow myself to be shaped by God even when it is difficult.

For instance, when we started Worship on Hurd at 10:50 am, it would have been a lot less work for us to simply continue with what we were doing.  Traditional worship comes more easily to me.  It would be easier to only have one worship space.  It would be simpler to have only one worship style.  One bulletin.

Offering different musical styles requires different leadership as well.  This means more people to work with.

So if God were not part of the equation for me, we would have two services in the sanctuary (I realize that this statement is highly ironic).  However, God calls us to reach out with our faith to all people.  In order to be effective in this and to effectively utilize the space we just built, I felt that God was calling us as a congregation to offer something new.  This doesn't mean that our sanctuary worship was broken.  It doesn't meant that it is ineffective.  It does mean that we recognize that God creates a diverse humanity.

Sometimes, we remake God into our own image.  This is the height of idolatry.  All people participate in this from time to time - we repent of it. We repent of trying to put God in a box.
Sometimes our theology looks a lot like a "selfie"

A box that we are comfortable with.

A box that is not so dissimilar from who we are at this very moment in time.

A box that when we gaze inside looks more like a mirror than a window.

Worship requires that we look through the window.  We look at the mysterious, infinite God.  We try to define God in snippets and bits of experience and revelation as it relates to the biblical witness.  And then we invite God to change our own natures and behaviors to fall more in line with the mystery.

This Sunday, we'll continue to see how our faith is a source of strength to us through Hebrews 12:18-29.  How could God as mystery be a source of strength?  We'll share in this together at 8:30, 10:50 or 11 am!

In Christ,


Photo used under the Creative Commons license via Flickr.com

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