Times like this can drive a lot of us to think about God. Is there a God? How can we know? Why does it matter? When a lot of things seem to be in flux, we look for something to ground us.
I’ll tell you where I’m coming from. You may have different views. That’s ok, stick with me for a minute. I believe there is a God, that this God is above and beyond all our constructs and that this God created us and has authority over us. But here’s something for us to chew on, together: if there is a God, there is way more to God than we know.
Jesus said something that points to this, referring to a scripture written hundreds of years before he walked the Earth. Here’s what he said:
“They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” – Matthew 15:9
This is a reference to the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” – Isaiah 29:13
It reminds me how we humans, since the beginning of time, have been trying to figure out this God thing. It reminds me how often we have probably gotten it wrong – adding lots of things to our relationship with God that God never intended. Time and time again – in the Bible and in real life – God calls out to our hearts. To our souls. It really does seem that’s what God is after and where God connects most deeply with us. He wants to strip away the barriers and love us.
We, in contrast, are experts at adding requirements that keep people separate – from one another and from God. Human history is full of tragic and ugly stories of one person or group creating barriers – violent, oppressive, deceitful barriers – between each another and between us and God. When we get to the roots of this behavior we usually find things like fear, pride, and lust for power. Yet alongside this human history is the story of a God who, in great patience and compassion, keeps trying to get us to realize we will always have enough when we are with Him, and that He loves us.
One of the beautiful elements of this crazy Corona time is that a lot of people are dropping barriers and connecting with each other on a basic human level. I love watching it. Maybe as we journey today, we could let down some barriers we’ve placed between us and someone else who is seeking God in a different way from us. We could check our hearts to see if we are worshipping in vain – following rules made by humans and not given from God. And then we could reach out to someone who has been on the other side of some human-made barrier, take their hand (ok, virtually for now!) and step over into their world.
As we connect without barriers we can discover the heart of the other, become more open to all kinds of people and perhaps most beautifully, find God drawing us nearer to Himself.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Joel & Jeff
P.S. – Be sure to check us out for a short version of the Daily Dose from Pastor Joel plus Jeff’s Corner on our daily show – Signs of Life – at 12:30p Eastern time every weekday on our Facebook page!