Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lumen Fidei #7: An Absent God is not a God

Cool CD cover.
From #17: Our culture has lost its sense of God's tangible presence and activity in the world. We think that God is to be found in the beyond, on another level of reality, far removed from our everyday relationships. But if this were the case, if God could not act in the world, his love would not be truly powerful, truly real, and thus not even true, a love capable of delivering the bliss that it promises.
Our Bible tells the story of people's relationship with God. Everywhere along the way from Genesis to Revelation, God intervenes on the behalf of humanity by doing thing like: saving the Israelites from slavery, helping the Israelites conquer the promised land, giving the Maccabees strength to rebel from Rome, and coming in the form of man to save us from sin and death.

But God's intervention in our lives isn't just something of history. He still intervenes every. single. day.

If you envision God as some old man in the sky who watches us intently and waits until we die to either reward us or punish us, you're not envisioning God, you're envisioning a cosmic Santa Claus.

A God who only exists out there in some netherworld who is vaguely defined and has an undefinable relationship to humanity is not the Christian God and might as well not exist at all. What use is He? How can we know He exists? What difference does His existence make?

What would be the point to religion? If we can't define God and God has no tangible relationship to us, why should we care?

But we do care. At least 90% of us in the US believe that God exists.

The Bible tells us that God is Love (1 John 4:8). We know that love exists because we love our family and friends. We endlessly seek love. God intervenes in our lives every day through those we love and those we don't particularly like.

In the quote above, Mr. Rogers is looking for love/God in the midst of tragedy. He's looking for hope through the helpers.

Our God is not some being in the sky. He's as close to us as our own family, as our very selves. That is the only God worth knowing, the only God that has any relevance. The clock-maker God is no God at all.

This is part of a series looking at quotes from Pope Francis' first encyclical, Lumen Fidei. For the other parts, go here.

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