Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…

.“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up to the heavens and say there is no God.” Abraham Lincoln.

“If there is no God, nothing matters. If there is a God, nothing else matters.” HG Wells

Since the dawn of human history people have tried to find their place in the universe, to find meaning in everyday life, and hope in death. People have gazed heavenward, looked on mountaintops, and searched deep into their hearts in the pursuit of the author and giver of life. Some would argue that God is the invention of frail, delusionary humans; others would argue that it takes more blind faith to believe that everything came together by accident, without intelligent design.

I believe in God, but I also believe that my capacity to understand God is such that I will never be truly able to grasp even a miniscule fraction of God’s complexity. We only know what has been revealed to us; we see in a mirror dimly. The greatest theologian and the greatest scientist stand humbly ignorant before the Master of the Universe. This takes a lot of pressure off of me and gives me great comfort. The last thing that I want to believe in is a God so small that I could understand Her.

We sat together in the cool of the evening; it had been a beautiful Northwest Summer Day. We talked of this and that. My companion knew very well my profession. At one point he stopped me and said, “I don’t believe in God. There is no God.” I took a sip of red wine and let the words hang in the air for a while. “There is no God.” He repeated. I replied, “It does not matter what you believe.” “What is that supposed to mean?” “To put it quite simply, what you believe will not change reality. There is or there is not a God and your opinion or mine will make little difference.” “I do not believe. There is no God.”

After a few moments I asked, “Do you believe in gravity? If you don’t believe in gravity, will you still fall back to earth if you jump out of a tree?” “I believe in science; I don’t believe in God.” “You need not believe in God, because guess what? God believes in you.”

We enjoyed dinner and when the night was over, we embraced before parting. To me, that was another sign that God was present. I do not claim to be an expert on God. There are no experts when it comes to God; the topic is too grand for the human mind. It is enough for me to know that I need not fear God, that God is love, and that whether I live or die I am safe.

Does it matter what we believe? In the eternal equation, probably not. But if my belief informs my earthly behavior, then yes, it does matter. If I believe that God has called me to love, forgive, and be faithful to my family, then that belief should inform my behavior. A good rule for Christians is to be humble and loving. We were never called to judge, exclude, or condemn. Christians do not have a corner on the market of truth; we see only a tiny fraction of God.

Your belief will not change reality, but it could change your life. Me? I am one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. Not a lot of room for bragging there.

One day closer,
Pastor Jim