Fellowship. How does this bring me/us closer to God?
“Closer” – what does that mean. “Bring me” – how does that happen? “God” – what is God, how is God, who is God? Definition after definition. Sub-clause after sub-clause. Agreement and disagreement. Divine inspiration or dodgy evidence. Belief and faith or codswallop and fairy stories.
Whichever way you look at it, belief is the one common theme throughout all this “God and fellowship” stuff. Even the devil, the satan, the dark one, the slayer, believes in God. Or he would not have a problem with God. Kind of like us. We have a problem with God – all the isms and ists and ologies.
Our fellowship this morning began in Luke. A short passage: Luke 12:1-7 (the bit that finishes with five sparrows and two pennies and the hairs on our head counted and known to our Heavenly Father).
And in the middle? “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”
Don’t know about you but “after he has killed” caused my eyebrows to raise a little. “Love is always the answer“ … apparently not!
“Check it out, Paul.”
Whoa! Loads of stuff! And loads of variants and different suggestions. Mainly people seem cool with “fear” and “God” – which seems to allow “after he has killed” to slip through either unchallenged (he’s God – what else do you expect), or an explanation of fear as a good thing (he’s God – what else do you expect).
I don’t expect much. Just that Love is always the answer.
So He and me ambled this morning. Here and there – there and here. Did you know that “kill” appears 445 times in the bible, “love” – 686 times, “hate” – 127 times, “God“ 3995 times, and “Jesus” 1310 times? Nor did I.
Did you know that Jesus appears 1310 times in the New Testament and 0 (zero) times in the Old Testament? Nor did I.
Hang on a minute … O (zero) times in the Old Testament? Crap! What does that do to my credibility … none, no, nil, zilch, nada … ?
And He let me run free on that one – that seems so much more important than “after he has killed”. And now – writing up this amble – I am left with one question: why?
Why is “finding” Jesus in the OT so much more important this morning than the taking of life? The taking of life by the same Friend who is Love. Because however much I chew this bible to bits, wordsearch, Google search, … turn up some very weird and wonderful (and always diverse) commentaries (to the point of opposites) … no matter how much I do that …
Does that protect my “christian street-cred” – or actually bring me closer to God?
BTW – apparently it’s okay about the “nil Jesus in the OT”. Someone has discovered a code embedded in the original. Needed a computer to find it, and requires counting forwards an agreed number of letters (521 letters is mentioned in one proof-theory). But there is Jesus – all over the place. Others have found that “salvation” as used in the OT is spelt the same in Hebrew as the original form of Jesus (if I followed the evidence properly).
BTW – others call all that “BS” (just for the sake of being even-handed).
“I love watching you work, Paul.”
And the chuckle in His voice as He said that? THAT goes beyond belief. THAT goes beyond evidence. That is LOVE: I am – He is – We are – Together.
Because if I love a Lord and Father who is happy for me to paddle and splash in puddles, who allows me to run around in ever decreasing circles, who will sit with me and look over my shoulder as I do – not a word of criticism – not a frustrated intake of breath as I do – and who just chuckles with unconditional love when I end up back at square one (none the wiser and still without an answer) …
THAT has just brought me closer to God – My God – this all embracing, eternal, unconditional love. A love that MUST allow others. That MUST embrace others. That MUST include others. Or how can I be allowed?
What have I learned this morning? Not much. Not “theologically”.
That I am now closer to God for this morning’s amble. And that is fellowship
(does that make sense?)