20 December 2012
My thoughts are not your thoughts ~ Advent 2012
From Isaiah 55
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your was,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as rain and snow fall from the heavens
and return not again, but water the earth,
Bringing forth life and giving growth,
seed for sowing and bread for eating,
So is my word that goes forth from my mouth;
it will not return to me empty.
But it will accomplish that which I have purposed,
and prosper in that for which I sent it.
Let's be honest. God is different than us. We are the created and God is the creator. We are in need of redemption and God the Christ is the redeemer. We are in need of sanctification and God is the sanctifier. We are absolutely contingent upon God. We are absolutely reliant upon God.
While we think that we are the center of existence, we are not, and even our thoughts of this supposed fact are really just because God has granted us the "image of God" in our very selves, our very bones, our very souls. We are not the center of existence. No. We are reliant upon the good grace of God.
I heard Desmond Tutu preach a most wonderful sermon in which he described the way that we are ever being held in the hands of God, and if God chose it we would cease to be, but God chooses not. Rather, we are ever being embraced by the hands of God, ever resting in the hands of God, both while we live and when we die and enter the greater life given by God.
I have long used this image in preaching, writing, and also in pastoral care. God cares for us, but this caring is not as we care for one another. God cares for us for God created us, and God is in the center of our very being. We rest in God, and God rests in us. We abide in God and God abides in us.
When Jesus was born, the rough and crude shepherds rushed to see him. They rushed to see him because they recognized God was nearby. When Jesus was born, the Magi from the East rushed to follow a star to see the baby where he lay. They recognized that only God would cause a star to rush across the sky. The kingdom of God is not of this word. The thoughts of God are not our thoughts. The ways of God are not our ways. We are contingent upon God. However, we are blessed that this God is a God of love, of compassion, of forgiveness.
God loves us, created us, cares for us, and is ever, EVER!, holding us in his loving embrace.
Now, go tell someone!
Loving God, help me remember that you both created us, and redeem us and sanctify us, and that you are ever holding us in your loving embrace, and help me to share this Good News with everyone I meet. Amen.