online book group: What’s the Least I Can Believe, chapter 14

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Chapter 14: Jesus’ Work…Where is God?

My favorite part of this chapter is the story at the end, where the woman couldn’t get into her car and the man who helped her had just been released from prison after serving time for stealing cars, and her response is to shout “Thank you, God, for sending me a professional!” I laughed out loud.

The topic of this chapter is less about “Where” God is than about “HOW” God works. Does God work by pulling puppet strings, manipulating the universe until it’s just-so, scurrying around behind the scenes making sure all the pieces fit the way God wants? Or does God work through the creation–or, more specifically, through people?

I think we all know this is not an either/or question. God is not limited in how God CAN work, only in how God CHOOSES to work. And since we would need to be God in order to understand the hows and whys of all that, part of me wants to just shout “it’s not all that black and white–it’s a mystery!” and leave it at that. But I know people have real questions about this. Where can we see God? Where is God when bad things happen? How does God work in a world that seems so filled with badness?

One of my constant refrains in children’s sermons is that we can see God wherever we look–in our neighbor, in our friends, in our parents, in our siblings (shocking though that may be!), even in ourselves. Whenever someone follows God’s will, you can see God at work in them. This is one of the reasons I don’t like to sing “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise…in light inaccessible hid from our eyes.” The idea that God is inaccessible to our eyes is foreign to incarnational theology. Sure, we don’t know the fullness of God, we can’t see whether God the Creator has a physical form or what it might look like, but we can certainly see God.

The idea of incarnational theology is simple: God became flesh, and lives/works/moves through flesh even now. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, made in the image of God, so we can be vehicles through which God works and is seen.

The chapter gives dozens of examples, from people volunteering after a disaster to people doing their jobs well with their focus on God. All the examples are great, and we could provide dozens more from our own congregation. But what I’m really interested in today is a two-fold question:

1. Where do you see God at work around you? In your daily life, where’s God?

2. How are you a vehicle for God’s work? How are you, in your daily life, continuing Jesus’ mission?

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One response »

  1. You provide an excellent summary of the topic of God’s interaction in our lives. I see God working through His people to interact for His kingdom on earth: peace, justice, and compassion. The church has often failed to be God’s voice and actions on earth when remaining silent on wars, genocide, famine, and poverty. HOW God works is a complex question, but I’m certain God doesn’t work for us in terms of using Scripture to justify military empire, accumulating wealth on the backs of the poor, and allowing people to die because they can’t afford a hospital. Those things in this world that break the heart of God should break our hearts as well.

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