Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Complex Combination

John 1:39: Jesus said, “Come along and see.”

Psalm 34: Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good GOD is. Blessed are you who run to him.

In my Ecology, Theology, and Literature class we have just finished reading For the Beauty of the Earth by Steven Bouma-Prediger. Among the many things I’ve learned two stand out: I’m not at the center of things, and I’m certainly not in control. Annie Dillard’s biting quote makes this stunningly important point, “…(at church) we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares…the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.” Dillard's words have a forbidding air. God isn’t tame. He’s wild and unpredictable. This needs to be noted and remembered. But I know I didn’t sign up for this Christian life because I was afraid or wanted to win arguments (although I appreciate and value clear, strong reasoning). I joined the family of God because I was drawn by God’s love. I saw God’s love in people I could hang out with, just like Andrew did with Jesus when he asked, "Teacher, where are you staying?" Jesus replied, "Come along and see for yourself." And Andrew ended up spending the day with Jesus. In fact, the first thing Andrew did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, "We've found the Messiah.” He immediately led him to Jesus. And we know how that connection ends: Simon is renamed Peter and becomes a rock Jesus can build on.

That’s what I call a solid foundation, but God’s been in the drawing-us-to-him business for a very long time. For example, Psalm 34 directs me to open my mouth and taste, open my eyes and see how good GOD is. This is where His love tugs at me in a different way, and I’m happy to spend time appreciating God in the taste of rain; ripe, red strawberries fat with rain and sun; His rainbow over the soaked strawberry field and over the wet workers in the strawberry field; and God’s warm kiss on my lips when I say his name with thanksgiving in my heart for it all.

There is a lot of value in recognizing that God is wild and unpredictable. But it is crucial to also remember that God is Love. It’s a complex combination, but I’m not confused. “Come along and see,” he says. I’m full of hope and running toward him open, open, open.

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