We endeavor to describe God and to understand how God relates to us, yet we never quite scratch the surface of who God is. When we long for revelation, we discover how much is hidden. We begin with an itch and as we rub, the itch grows, but like children, we can’t leave it alone. Our souls cannot rest until they find rest in God, so we dig in our nails, trying to get beneath the skin, to the source, to the origin and the root, but we fail.
Instead, we utter our faith like toddlers, moving our mouths over syllables, trying to relate concepts that we cannot get our minds around; our lips verbalize what our intellect cannot comprehend. As a church, we join in a vast conversation of faith and doubt, picking up the words in mid-sentence, trying out our weak voices among the symphony that sings of God, our Creator, Liberator and Sustainer.
As I walk through marshland, I’m reminded that in God, our Creator, we live and move. God is the ground of our being and the source of all life. We exist in the mind of God, as a painting is in the thoughts of an artist. The splendor of the world displays God’s great imagination, as the trees stretch out their hands and the stones shout out in natural wonder. God gathers the petals of the desert rose and each blade of grass stands in the glory of their maker. As the mud below my feet turns into sand, I face the shore and I am surrounded by the nourishing beauty of our great Creator, who makes a sea shell with a thousand different textures and whose palette is unlimited. God forms us from this dusty earth, loving us with the intensity of one who gives birth: God makes us, holds us, delights in our movements, and cradles us with a grace from which we cannot escape.
When the sun goes down over the bay, the light is not quickly extinguished, but it sets in breathtaking radiance, a fantastic spectacle reminding me of this abundant life that we have been given. God, our Liberator, comes so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, is fully divine and fully human and when Jesus walks on this earth, divine history and human history intercept. He is born into a humble family, surrounded by scandal. He grows into a man who has compassion on the crowds surrounding him. While teaching hard words, Jesus overturns the powers that structure our lives; he upholds the oppressed, feeds the hungry and welcomes the offender. Jesus brings wholeness: he reaches out to the withered hand; he looks into the trees, searching for a dinner companion; and when the bleeding woman bravely grasps onto his hem, he turns and heals her. Jesus is arrested for blasphemy and sedition. He suffers the depths of human pain and is brutally executed. On the third day, Jesus is brought from death to life. Through the words and actions of Jesus, we learn how to be human.
As I feel the cool evening wind from the sea, I am reminded of God, our Sustainer, who blows upon us and fills us with vitality. The Holy Spirit enlightens our minds as we search the Scriptures and emboldens us to proclaim the good story of God’s love. The Spirit works in and among us, gathering us into the life and ministry of the church. When we pray, the Spirit gives utterance to our groaning. As we celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion, our Sustainer seals us as the children of God and nourishes us with spiritual food.
Looking around at the vast beauty surrounding me, I begin to understand that God is love, and there is no height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation that will separate us from the love we share in God our Creator, God our Liberator, and God our Sustainer.