Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We have made Jesus into a flannel-graph figure. He has become a two-dimensional character at our mercy to move around and talk about the way we want. We can’t endure the wild-eyed Galilean prophet who bit off first century Judaism, chewed it up and spit it out. We like a Savior who is meek and mild. We refuse a leader who invites us into a life of insecurity and danger. We like a stained-glass Jesus who decorates our religious moments. We flee the blood-stained Jesus who shouts, “Pick up your cross and follow me, if you dare!”That's a prophetic word there folks. I am reminded of the book from several decades ago, "Your God is Too Small" by J.B. Phillips. Phillips' books presents series of images we have of God and how they fail to take in God's totality.
Hmmm, that word "images" falling off my fingertips onto the keyboard is interesting. Makes me think about idols. There are a couple of reasons idols are a problem. One, of course, are that they are "substitute" gods. We worship money rather than the Lord God Almighty. But day-to-day those idols don't worry me so much. Most Christians are on guard for them. Nope what worries me far more is what we imagine God to be and how that image is actually an idol - it is a "substitute" for God because even though it is an image of God, it is, because we imagine it, less than God. That's the problem with "graven images," even of Jesus - the infinite cannot be contained in the finite and when we do so, we tend to worship the finite rather than the true infinite.
There is something very important to remember here - we can never "know" God - our brains are finite, He is infinite. "How then do we have a relationship with Him?" you may ask. How do we have relationship with that which is beyond our comprehension?
The answer lies, of course, in that small word "faith." We must trust, rely upon, believe in, rest in the arms of that which we can never fully know. In the end, we only need to know one thing - God is good.
And we do not get to argue with Him about what is "good." That is simply Him - that which He decides is good, actually is because, He makes it so.
For those of us that like to think a bit too much this is hard to swallow (there's an idol again!), but it is what we have. We rely on a good God. In the end that is all we can know.