Musings: to gaze meditatively or wonderingly; to comment thoughtfully or ruminate upon [something].
Random musings here, so warning, it may be offensive to some.
Sometimes certain Scriptures take on new meaning when life takes a twist or a turn, for me now the one that has taken a deeper meaning is the one recording the last known words of Jesus (from Matthew 28:20): “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” I re-wrote it to remind myself how his words apply to where I am on the journey these days: “And re-member, I AM with you All Ways, to the end of the age.”
It is not a new thought; it is a re-membering, a putting back together of that which is eternally true. It is a reminder that whenever Jesus says “I am” it is reminiscent of Yahweh (YHWH) revealing the Divine Name to Moses by saying “tell them I AM WHO I AM sent you”; or another way of God’s name YHWH is I AM BECAUSE I AM…or I AM WHO I WILL BE. It is quite important to remember and know this: in the Hebrew and Jewish culture your name implies your character, being and even your destiny.
So YHWH, the God of the Universe, has no beginning and no end, no changes…just the great I AM in perpetuity.
And I say I believe in this God but do I? I say I believe but I sometimes live my life like a ‘functional atheist.” I falter, I fail, I’d rather grasp at burning straws instead of resting in the eternal Wonder of this God Who says I am with you, ___________ (fill YOUR name in the blank), always – in All Ways – even until there is no more time (and we are just in eternity).
I believe in the One Who is named I AM without end or beginning. I do, I really do (trying to self-convince here). Yet so often, I put constraints and restraints on God, coming up instead with lists of Do’s and Don’ts, rules and regulations, hoops to jump through, fickle faith, and rituals that turn the sacred into sacrilege.
The other day, I scribbled the following words from Neale Donald Walsch on a scrap of paper: belief in God should produce belief in God’s greatest gift – unconditional Love – and in God’s greatest promise – eternal Presence.
But I realize, I limit God and his love, sometimes even more than religions do. I limit God’s presence even more than legalistic Christians do. I am just musing here…random thoughts on a not-so-random God.
So I ask myself: Is God’s love REALLY unconditional?
When I see in me, and in Christian doctrine and denominations, the placing of unbelievable restrictions on God’s love I have to ask myself, what do I believe about God’s supposed unconditional love?
We say God’s love is unconditional but most of us, if we are honest, believe that God’s love is only unconditional to the righteous, the right, or those who believe as we do – ahhh, the rudeness of rightness. But do we really believe that God loves the Jesus followers equally and exactly the same as the prostitute having sex in a car for drugs and cash? Or the man crushing up and snorting Oxy’s while he schemes up a new way to steal some pills to feed this habit? Or the corporate shark stealing millions from unsuspecting investors? Or the person who pummels the very life out a child or another human being?
Do I really think God’s love is absolutely unconditional for these? Or even for me?
When some say without Jesus, all are condemned to eternal, fire-based punishment? I am going to cop out here and not say what I believe or think about hell, but rather ‘represent’ mainstream Christian thought. I am just musing, and when I muse, I tend to stomp on toes and skirt the edges of heresy, I must confess. One thing I do know: God is bigger than my thoughts, doubts, fears and fantasies, so I have no problem bringing them to light…in the light of God’s love.
So is God’s Love partially exclusive or completely inclusive?
Have we created culturally biased misinterpretations and a “faith culture” based more on exclusion than inclusion and thereby move ourselves dangerously close to committing true heresy? Or could God and God’s love be truly inclusive? Could ALL be invited to this banquet feast?
Jesus himself said when we hold a banquet or great party to go and invite the univitable: the poor, the lame, the unclean, the unrighteous, the forgotten, the burdensome, the sick, the despised.
Jesus told a series of eschatological parables close the end of his earthly life, and one of the ones we have recorded is the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25), where Jesus said that when he comes in glory the only ‘criteria’ for being a ‘righteous sheep’ or an ‘unrighteous goat’ will be determined by what we did and did not do to the poor, the hungry, the sick, the naked, and the imprisoned. Jesus made no reference to doctrine or denomination…or even correct confession for that matter. Are we feeling a bit uncomfortable in our smugness yet?
What do you think? Is someone like Rob Bell a heretic? Am I a heretic [gulp]? Does the ancient eastern Orthodox Christian belief that at the end of time ALL will be absorbed back into God’s eternal love and mercy ring true or is it complete mythology and heresy?
Can I see and find God in the profane as much as I can the profound?
I’m just musing here…so don’t start picking up those stones or prepping the wood for the Niles cookout just yet. I am just not afraid to muse in brutal, perplexed honesty.
But as I look inward, I must confess this truth to myself: if in fact I cannot find God in the profane as much as I do the profound, then I am simply limiting God and my experience of, and movement towards, God.
Not a sermon, just a shepherd musing with his fingers on a keyboard. But today forget all of that and just re-member God loves us all no matter what or who we are!