As we resume our “Lectionary Study” of the Bible this coming Tuesday, in the Banquet Room, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm, I want to offer gratitude that we have many who value the Bible. One of the blessings or curses of our holy scripture is that it never seems to give us an absolute and ironclad picture of what the God we worship is like. I hear people occasionally say they wish there were not so many different pictures of God in the Bible, because it is confounding. For instance, the God pictured in some of the Psalms appears as a God who has forsaken the chosen people. Psalm 137 reveals:
By the rivers of Babylon‑‑there we sat down and there we
wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung
up our harps. For there our captors asked us for songs, and
our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How could we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? (Psalm 137:1-4).
Many of the Psalms speak words of despair about Israel’s relationship to their God. Other Psalms, however, speak of a God of “tender mercies” and of a divinity of which the people can sing with confidence: “The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made” (Psalm 145:9). At the same time, what kind of God would be drawn into a cosmic wager with “the Satan” or “the Adversary,” as depicted in Job?
At least Christians have the New Testament upon which to succor our faith and our hope. But even here we wonder, what kind of God sends a Messiah who is born in a stable and who dies on a tree? These are questions that a lifetime of searching will only reveal a partial and, from a modern scientific perspective such as ours, mysteriously veiled answer.
The point may well be the question that faithful people always bring to worship: What kind of God is this God we worship? Sunday after Sunday, we come to explore, if not exactly to explicitly answer, this question. Scripture can only take us so far in exploring our own and unique relationship with God. Come let us worship and study these texts the previous Tuesday night so that we might search for God together
“Lectionary Study” of the Bible is for serious people who have serious questions and not necessarily all the answers. Come for study and fellowship in a venue that takes the Bible seriously without taking ourselves too seriously.