The story was shared at a Sunday gathering at Bethel of a young person who said worship was boring when God was an idea. When God became a person worship became great. The difference between these two ways of experiencing and understanding the Christian faith is immense and will effect the way we live in every area of our lives.
OK let me ask another question: If God is a person and not an idea have you met him? I’m not asking what you know of or about him. I’m not asking how you understand him. I’m not asking what your picture of God is. I’m asking have YOU met him?
Have You Met Him?
When was the last time you met him, talked to him, heard his voice, felt his breath on you, saw his face, felt his touch? At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus says to his disciples, and to us, “surely I am with you always.” He didn’t say an idea would be with us, or a concept, or a theology. He said HE would be with us. Jesus with us, in person, every moment of every day. When was the last time you experienced his presence with you?
Too many of us relate to God as an ‘idea’ not as a person.
Whilst Jesus is with us, alongside us, every moment, there’s one person in the trinity who is even closer than that! “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
God lives in you – have you met him recently? If Holy Spirit lives in us, if Almighty God has taken up residence within our bodies, “if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you” (Romans 8:11) then surely we should know that experientially and not just intellectually!
“The presence of God is not the icing on the cake, he is the cake!” Che Ahn
One of the characteristics that I have experienced here is the tangible presence of God. I have been renewed in my experience as well as my understanding and I find both challenging! What I have seen is a community of people who have given themselves to pursuing the presence of God. They give time both personally and corporately to intentionally pursue the manifold presence of God in their personal lives, in their church community and within the community that they serve, minister to and seek to share the Good News with.
There is lots more that I have seen and experienced in my four weeks at Bethel, some of which I will share through this blog and at our church gatherings when I’m back. But the conclusion I’ve come to is that the foundation for everything else is the intentional pursuit of God’s presence.