Sunday, October 15, 2017
God Part Three
The dynamic and dramatic dance with the divine throughout the pages of Scripture has today been too often reduced, compartmentalized, or simply left behind. So, we end up talking about the God of the Old Testament as "judgy" or "violent" and the God of the New Testament as "cozy" and "all about love". But such distinctions don't do justice to what is actually written. Such simplifications, while easily said with authority, are often based a hand few of verse. God in Genesis, crafts and creates (in fact Genesis 1 don't use the past tense when God created...rather when God began to create, as in this whole project remains unfinished after thousands of years. This is not only confirmed when I read the news, it also makes me feel a whole lot better about myself leaving working lingering). God in Genesis changes God's mind after the flood with Noah. God in Genesis blesses the trickster, Jacob. God in Genesis works through a broken and dysfunctional family of Jacob's children, so that Joseph of many color coat fame is able to say to his brothers at the end, "What you intended for ill/bad, God intended for good." Of course, that is easy of Joseph to say when he is caught up in the political power of Pharaoh and life has turned out well...that might not have been his perspective when he had been thrown in a pit by his brothers or in prison a few years earlier.
God in Exodus, not only hears from a distance the cries for liberation...God feels the pain as a way we are called today to not just hold the oppressed/hurting at arm's length as a cause for sympathy or even empathy, but to form relationships with people. As God forms a relationship with the people of Israel following their liberation from Egypt...they are kind of whiny and grumpy and generally not all that fun to be around. Moses' calls them a "stiff-necked people", which I am pretty sure was the edited version of what Moses' might have actually called them. This God of liberation discovers that having a relationship with us as humans is, as Facebook calls it, "complicated".
We could continue in this vain. God in Numbers show a love for details. God in Leviticus, besides that passage you always hear quoted, shows a love for the stranger and foreigner. God in Deuteronomy shows compassion and care for God's people and this is one of the most quoted books of the Hebrew Scriptures by Jesus. In fact, Jesus isn't Jesus without the formation he would have received by learning the Torah (first five books of the Bible). He is steeped in these stories, drawn into the dynamic and dramatic dance with the divine. The difference is, he let's his story get caught up in the stories from these pages. Too often our intellectual approach to the Bible means that we hold it at a distance. Too often we'd rather exert power over these pages than to let them embrace us and hold us and challenge/change us. Reading Scripture not as informational but as intended, as a way of transformation.
For me, you start talking about God (theology) recognizing that all theology is personal. When I write this blog about God, I am talking about myself with a megaphone. Sacred stories about God are found in Scripture, so that is why we return to these pages Sunday after Sunday. We keep coming back to the stained-glass window of Scripture to see the way the light of God is streaming/shining through in such a time as this. And God is not able to be compartmentalized or categorized. God is. We are. Together, there is a dynamic, dramatic and divine dance in which we engage. I pray you are able to get up and start dancing this week with the creating, liberating, grace-giving, blessing, still moving in our midst God who feeds and fuels our souls every day.
Grace and peace ~~