Opinion

CHURCH CORNER: What does your picture of God look like?

By Art Sphar

The old saying goes, “A picture paints a thousand words.” The world of spiritual thought and exploration wades thought a sea of words in its attempt to convey Spiritual meaning to our thinking process. Whole libraries have been collected and constructed on this subject.

What about God? Is there God? If there’s God, what does that mean? Well, it means this. No, it means that. No, you’re both wrong. No, actually, you’re both right. Hold it...how could we both be either right or wrong?

At some point in my life I began to ponder important questions about God. What if there is God? If there is God, wouldn’t I need to make some decisions about his existence?

And, I concluded that, yes, I would need to make some decisions. What if there is God, and he is what and who he’s represented to be in what we call our holy writings? I’m not talking about what if he’s like what we represent him to be, but what if he’s like what the Holy Book says he’s like?

That would mean that a lot of what we say about God might not be accurate, and a lot of how we claim to live for God might not be authentic, and a lot of what we represent as from God might be from something or someplace else, and a lot of what we’re not doing and saying we ought to be doing and saying...that is, if there is God as we say there is . . .

Is there God? If so, what does he look like? And, what does he act like? And, how do I know if or when I run into him?

The story in Exodus about Moses and God reports that God made his personal reference as simply “I AM.” Moses is asking for a powerful name, one that would rock the world of the Israelites in Egypt, a really impressive name – a name that shouts out to you with an unmistakable identity, and the sheer power of the name won’t let you go, but compels you to respond in an appropriate manner...whatever that is. And it didn’t work.

“Who shall I tell them sent me? Who are you God?”

“Just tell them that I AM the One who is. Just tell them I AM sent you.”

God was satisfied that the people of Israel could simply recognize that he was in existence, and it would be a matter of faith without question.

Of all the so called revelations of God in our Bible, I think this simple statement of existence is the powerful revelation God wants us to get a grip on. What’s up with God giving an identity statement of Himself that’s nothing more or less than the expression of self existence?

Well, it must have had some impact. The apostle John reports that Jesus used the same reference to himself, and the religious folks attempted to stone him for His blasphemy! I’m not suggesting they did a good job of grasping the significance of the Father’s self-reference, but they did get a grip on the sanctity of the term at least.

And somehow God chooses to put a bit of his eternal self-existence in us, his creation, and invites us to make a stab at following him and living for him and living with him. And the holy writings suggest rather strongly that we don’t need to wait till we die to start this life sharing with the I AM creator. It looks to me like he wants me to walk with him now.

I’m suggesting a word might paint a complete picture if we can just see it. I’ll suggest you might not need a thousand words to describe – oh, you could sure go ahead and use all those words. I don’t say your picture would be any more done with more words than with less.

Hmmmm. A few less words today than my norm. I want to make you think...

Have you painted anything yet? What’s your picture of God look like? I’ll bet you have one.

Pastor Dale Pratt can be reached at dale@cedarcommunitychurch.org.

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