Monday, August 6, 2007

Looking for God

We have returned from the last trip to Maine for the year. I love Maine. I am glad to be done with the drive. Especially because the drive has happened a couple of times on Sundays ( leaving very early to avoid the onslaught of traffic), and so I feel I have been worshipping at the Church of the Turnpike.

But I love Maine, and each time we are there we go somewhere new. I love geological phenomenons- massive rocks that seem to have been scattered by a giant hand; the results of massive glaciers grinding their way across the land; the force of the tides; the trees shaped by the rushing winds; land shaped by the volcanic upheaval of magma that creates igneous rocks; horizons that seem to stretch on into never-ending space.

In our sojourns around this planet, I long to find these things. No matter what may be on my mind, seeing the awesome power of the Creator is rejuvenating and centering. And I have yet to tire of these things. I have yet to see a place and say,” Oh, well this is really just a duplicate.” A tangible expression quantifies for me that God is not fully quantifiable. Somehow there is irony in that.

So too can it be said that we cannot fully know God’s mind, or his plan.
Paul writes in Romans, 11:33-12:2

“O the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
Or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given a gift to him
That he might be repaid?”

Have you ever listened to your prayers and realized they sound more like giving God advice about what ought to be? I have. Good thing that God is patient. When I am in his creation, I am reminded how limited I am in all ways, compared to our Maker.

Paul goes on to write,

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen. I appeal to you brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Edward A. Steimle, in his book, Are You Looking for God?, wrote,

"These exclamatory statements were all Paul found left to say about the ways of God after he had struggled with the whys and wherefores of God’s wisdom. Judgement and love. Because for all of our knowledge and experience of God as they are expressed in creeds and dogma, he is always beyond us, beyond our understanding and reason, beyond our neat little blueprints and formulas.

Which brings me to this: Never be misled into supposing that we Christians
think we have God all neatly packaged and labeled for our easy distribution
and consumption like a package of frozen peas. Our creeds and dogmas only
serve to lead us into the “depth of the riches” of God’s being. There is a mystery
about the nature and ways of God that you and I can never expect to fathom
entirely- otherwise God would not be God. We do but touch the fringe of his
garment. But we do believe that the fringe which we touch is real!

Harry Emerson Fosdick once described it as being like a man standing on
The beach at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. This little portion of the coast
line and the ocean which touches it, I know this is real. But beyond it are
incalculable miles of shore line and ocean which I can never know
intimately and about which I can only surmise. These two things I know
about the ocean and God: this portion which touches me is real; beyond it
Is far , far more than I can ever know.

The creeds and dogmas of the church then are no pat formulas which provide all
the neat answers man can ever find as to the nature of God. Nor are they
barriers bearing the legend, ' Thus far and no farther.' Rather are they invitations
to adventure, a kind of spiritual road map offering you the experience of
others who have found a rich and exciting experience of God."

As I stood in Acadia National Park in Maine, the mist was rolling in and enveloping the water, and surrounding small islands, and coves, and in particular, a tiny island lighthouse. The island seemed isolated, and at the same time embraced by the mist.

So it is that I see our walk with God. We are part of the world, but not of it, and yet, never alone. Always embraced by our Creator.


Diane said...

is that where Longfellow's poem Evangeline is supposed to have taken place? somehow the word "Acadia" rings a bell for me.

Diane said...

oh, Longfellow is referring to someplace in Canada... but I bet it's close...

LawAndGospel said...

It is up in Nova Scotia. Another great place to getaway.