Resurrection Lutheran Church of Dublin
7557 Amador Valley Blvd, Dublin, CA 94568 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 925.828.1580
A Word from Our Pastor...
How do we know about God? Is God something that we can see or feel in the same way we discover the world around us? These are simple questions but the answers we give them have profound consequences for our lives, even our world. We have almost 4,000 years of written history and a great deal of that history deals with humanities relationship with God. The Bible as we know it today covers a little bit over 3,000 years of that history. It is one of the main threads that follow the relationship between God and humanity but there are others. The Upanishads from India the Taoist literature from China, Shinto in Japan and countless others are all part of this story, many quite different because the cultures they spring out of developed almost entirely independent from each other.
As our world grows smaller and smaller due to the almost instant communication and travel that once took years can be accomplished in hours, our independent faith histories are colliding with one another with often violent results. Nowhere is this more evident than the Middle East. It is a war of cultures more than a war of religions for our understanding of God is informed by personal attitudes and beliefs more than by the Word of God as it proceeds from anyone’s understanding of God.
The problem is the same now is as it has been since the beginning of recorded history, when there is uncertainty we always create God in our own image. When you consider that this tendency is world- wide you begin to see the scope of the problem. God comes to us and all people through revelation, God revealing God’s self to individuals and groups of individuals and ultimately to a whole culture. No matter how clearly God speaks we can do nothing other than interpret God’s word the lens of personal experience and cultural wisdom. Unfortunately both are inadequate to the task. We find ourselves at the beginning of this century in a tangle of cultures where individuals are certain that they alone hold the truth where each of us is unwilling to see God’s love and truth in any other culture.
With Christ came an even deeper revelation of the God we serve, he told us that people could recognize his followers by how they loved one another, he even went a step further when he taught us that we should love our enemies. Yet that one of the first Christian against Christian was fought over human interpretation of the doctrine of the Trinity a metaphor not from the Bible but a way the early church sought to understand the nature of God.
If we serve a God of love as Jesus taught us we most certainly do, how are we going to serve that cause of love and peace in a world just awakening to the reality that we have got to find a way to live together without coming to blows.
St. Paul provides us some insight into our dilemma in the way he speaks to the church conflict in Corinth. This Apostle of the God of love, the Prince of Peace tells us:
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:8 - 14:1
In this short passage we are given new ways to understand not just who we are as individuals but a new direction for the church itself. First of all Paul makes clear that prophecies, i.e. revelations and doctrines are not at the center of our faith. In fact we are told clearly that we understand only in part and that even then these things are not the most vital part of our faith. He tells us dramatically that now we see in a mirror, dimly, and as we grow into our faith at the end of days we would know truly even as we are truly known by our God. It is faith, hope and love that are important now and will remain at the center of our life of faith throughout eternity.
This understanding is I believe to be the center of our faith as we move through this time of colliding cultures. Learning to love and listen may be the only way we can truly follow our Lord of Love in this new day we live in.
Pastor Jim Bliss