Pastor Bert continued this past Sunday on the subtheme of Exploring Community. It was a sermon that reminded us that the Bible rarely describes God in declarative statements (“God is Holy,” “God is Just,” etc.), but rather in more organic descriptions (“God is teaching,” “God will show you,” etc.). The former is really an exercise of academics – how able we are to remember and regurgitate x number of facts about God. The latter is about being alive through God. And even in Bible studies and perhaps in our own quiet times, we discuss and analyze God almost like in a petri dish as a science experiment. Yet the God we are trying to dissect is very alive and very present in our lives. He should not be relegated to simply the “third person.” He needs to be brought into our lives and discussions as well as our interactions with others.
Betty (my wife) and I were talking on our way home from church and were thinking that we did not pray together as much as we did when we first started dating. But the thing that struck us even more was the fact that it is so much harder to see God in and through and with others if we, individually were not spending time to see God in and through and with alone. The horizontal relationships are outward expressions of our vertical relationship with God. As is discussed in a book of a good friend and mentor of mine, Christian spirituality involves three dimensions: 1) the relational dimension – Christ WITH us, 2) the transformational dimension – Christ IN us, and 3) the vocation dimension – Christ THROUGH us. How can we affect others if God has not first affected our lives? We can, for a short period, but only by our own feeble strength.