Marilyn Anderson Corkum.. Jan. 14th, 2018
1: How big is your God…… How big is your God?….
2: Something that has intrigued us over the years has been discovery in scripture of how many ways there are to understand God. It has been like windows opening for us, along with the realization that we will never be able to ‘capture’ it all! It’s hard to admit that most of us in the church have kept a very narrow view of God… And yet, there are so many images, names, titles of God in the Bible. And also (as it says in the Song of Faith read this morning) God is Holy Mystery.
So…are you saying we have a too-narrow view of God or that God is just too big & Mysterious to hope to understand? I think we have a long way to go before we can say we hit the limit on what we can learn about this God of life….
Let’s spend some time looking at the Bible’s ways of revealing God….. of imagining God, of drawing us closer to God’s presence in our lives and in our world. In Scripture… In the beginning…
- God is named and known as the Maker of heaven and earth.
- In the Garden…. God is in conversation & relationship with all creatures as well as Adam & Eve.
- In the flood….God is disappointed with the earliest people & their evil ways, God punishes them …& then calls Noah to be the one through whom life is saved and promise is made.
- God leads & blesses Abraham & Sarah with Abundance.
- In a later time God brings the people of Israel out of slavery & through wilderness time into the Promised Land...
So many of the Old Testament’s descriptions of God are the images of a Warrior… a Mighty Defender; a Conqueror; a Judge; a consuming fire; an angry God; and even a jealous God.
Yes, I know those are tougher images for us, but I can imagine that they presented an image of God for faithful people in the crisis of their time in history.
There are also lots of other descriptions for God in the Old Testament, that of a Shepherd; that of a Refuge….that of Covenant-Maker and Promise-Keeper…. and they are much easier for me to use!
And then there are those “GENDER-RELATED” images for God, which we have spent time working on in recent years. We know of the Old Testament reference to God, Father, Mother, and Nursemaid; and of Sophia, the feminine representation of the Wisdom of God; and of God the nurturer, the midwife, the mother eagle… just to name a few.
Woven through it all is the assurance that God is the supreme being who loves us, over and over again. This God we see even more fully in the life of Jesus Christ, showing us more of God’s goodness and grace.
The first Christians saw Jesus as the Son of God, the Word of God, the Lamb of God. Throughout the Bible, Jesus is called The Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Good Shepherd. The Light of the World.
Jesus is also named as the Prince of Peace, the Holy One, the Saviour and the Messiah. He is called the Bread of Life, the True Vine, the Son of Man, the Living Water, and, more simply, Rabbi. God is likened to A King, to a Master, to a Shield and fortress.
Down through the centuries Christians have continued to call Jesus by many names, by NEW names.. From Babe of Bethlehem, Laughing Christ, the Crucified Prophet, to Risen Lord, Jesus has meant many things to many people, because in Jesus we see the human face of God.
In him, we see the God of utter faithfulness,
of radical justice,
the God of infinite mercy,
and unconditional love.
Not one name… but so many.
Exactly! One name is not enough. We know that – in the Trinity. We see that God is not just Father or Son… We also proclaim the power and the presence of God the SPIRIT who moves with us and among us. In various places in the New Testament the SPIRIT is sent by God (as Jesus promised) to be “advocate” or Guide” and “Govenor”, the One who counsels and comforts us.
The Spirit of God is also referred to as fire & wind – lighting and stirring. God as Spirit, active in the world, active in you and I.
God has many names….and many ways of entering into your life. So….how big is your God? What words or images most connect you to God’s abundance? Thus it is exciting to us that the Song of Faith opens our minds and hearts to ponder and imagine both new and renewed expressions of God!
Surely God will celebrate the very act of us digging deeper and opening our imaginations, and clearing our lenses to see God at work in new ways in us and around us!
,,,,,,,Bring many names…….