Monday, 22 March 2010

Complicated God.



Early morning Mass had just finished. Everyone had gone home or to work, except for Simon the gardener. He stayed behind to collect any stray hymn books left in the pews and to clear up in the Sacristy before he put in an hour or two mowing the lawn in the garden behind the church.

“That was an odd reading we had today from 2 Peter 3:8” he said to Father Ignatius as he locked the Sacristy door.

“You remember the exact chapter and verse I see …” replied the priest, “what was so odd about it?”

“I mean … it said ‘There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to Him the two are the same.’

“That must make it very difficult keeping an appointment with God … imagine Him asking Moses to come up the mountain tomorrow … Moses wouldn’t know whether it’s in twenty four hours’ time or in a thousand years …”

The priest smiled and said nothing.

“Why is God so complicated sometimes?” asked Simon.

“It’s a bit early in the morning for all these questions … I haven’t had my toast and ginger marmalade yet … have you had breakfast?” asked Father Ignatius.

“Er … no … not yet …”

“In that case I suggest we go to the kitchen and prepare something to eat …” continued the priest as he headed for the Parish house.

Minutes later he had set the table with fried eggs and bacon, coffee, toast and marmalade.

“Now then …” said Father Ignatius as he put his cup down, “what’s on your mind Simon?”

“Well … as I was saying … God and the Bible seem so complicated at times. All this business about one day is the same as a thousand years … and the story of the Creation for instance … if God is so powerful why did He need seven days to create the universe … and did He really need a rib from Adam to create Eve? Seems so improbable to me …”

Father Ignatius sympathized with what Simon was saying.

“Remember Simon,” he said, “the Bible is a book of Faith and not necessarily a book of literal facts … not all of it …

“No one was with God at the time of Creation. So no one can say for certain whether it took Him seven days or seven seconds or less even. In reality, it doesn’t matter how long God took to create the universe; or whether he really took a bone from the side of Adam or not. What matters is that we have learnt that God is the ultimate Creator of all that we see and all that we are. And all that we have yet to discover in this great universe.

“The Creation is a story told by the writer of the book of Genesis to teach the people of the time about God. A story inspired by God no doubt, but not necessarily all factual in every detail.”

“That’s what I meant by complicated…” retorted Simon, “how are we to know what is factual and what is not … which bit to believe literally and which not?”

Father Ignatius chuckled gently.

“I see what you mean,” he said.

“Over the years, and in preparation for the priesthood, I have studied and read many books,” continued Father Ignatius, “you’d be surprised how many different views and opinions there are about God, the teachings of the Bible and theology in general.

“For centuries many learned wise heads have surmised and pronounced on various issues concerning God and Christianity. To the point where we have made it into a science; a discipline worthy of study at our universities and such like.

“And after all of my studies I’ve reached one conclusion …

“God is not complicated at all … it is us who make Him complicated.

“We question and analyze every aspect of our religion and our Faith. We try to understand in human terms what is not of human origin. We dissect our very Creator as if He were an insect in a laboratory and debate His very existence.

“This is wrong surely …

“God is simply love. He created us out of love and wishes the best for us. He wishes to share eternity with us.

“But we distanced ourselves from Him through our sin. And when we did so, He did not give up on us.

“He loved us so much that He sent His Son on earth, so that we may see Him in human terms. Can you imagine that … really imagine it?

“God walked this earth as a man, just like everyone else. Humans saw Him, spoke to Him and listened to Him. They witnessed His miracles. He died for us, and was raised from the dead so that we may be forgiven.

“It’s as simple as that … God created us, and loved us so much that He came down on earth and lived amongst us.

“God does not ask us to understand His ways or to know how things work … He doesn’t expect us to analyze His motives and His strategies … He just wants us to step out in Faith and dare to trust Him … to love Him … and to obey Him.”

“I like that … to step out in Faith and dare to trust Him …” repeated Simon.

“That’s right,” said Father Ignatius as he poured another cup of coffee, “let us stop trying to find answers where He doesn’t want us to … let’s trust Him that His ways are superior and better than ours, and that His love will see us through … if we let Him.

“Let God work in your life, rather than waste time working out all about Him.”

12 comments:

  1. My spiritual director gave me a framed quote "Faith is resting in God's love, His presence, His providence." Sums it up pretty well, I think!

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  2. Letting God do his job is so hard...I'd much rather interfere sometimes...You know, I say to myself, "I'm not sure he understands." Silly me!!! Great post! Cathy

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  3. Hello Anne,

    That's a lovely quote which sums it up beautifully as you say.

    Hi Cathy,

    You're not alone in interfering sometimes. We all do it. We say "Thy will be done as long as it is what I want!"

    God bless you Anne and Cathy.

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  4. Oh I love this, I don't know why we always try and take something easy and make it so very hard......ah humans are the mystery....Hugs

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  5. You're so right Bernie. Humans always try to be clever and think they know best. And no doubt God says silently: "I made YOU. Know your place!"

    God bless you Bernie.

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  6. I have exactly the same view on creation. Sometimes I wonder if it didn't take much LONGER than seven literal days, but I try not to concern myself with it. As you said, the main thing is that God is our creator. I see evidence of that all around me--especially in the spring. Praise God!

    By the way, I meant to respond to your comment about my garden last week... I am by no means a successful gardener (well, I do have hopes for this season). Last year our entire crop consisted of about 15 delicious green beans, four tiny tomatoes, one glorious green bell pepper that rotted in the crisper drawer, a head of shockingly bitter lettuce, and a bumper crop of beautiful banana peppers that no one would eat.

    Still, we had so much fun with the garden. If you measure in terms of enjoyment, I guess our garden was very successful. Thank you for your comments on my blog.

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  7. Hello Sarah,

    I agree; we should accept God as our Creator and not question too much.

    Well at least you're doing better than me in the garden. I can't get anything to grow except weeds. I lost a peach tree and a cherry tree. They just died on me. The vine grows like wild with leaves everywhere but no grapes. Maybe I should try stuffed vine leaves instead.

    God bless you Sarah and your family.

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  8. I love the simplicity of Fr. Ignatius view of God. What peace and freedom there is to just rest in His Love, believe and obey.

    What more do we need to know? He's our Daddy. Jesus came to show us the Father. We follow Him - He is the Way.

    Thanks for such a comforting story.

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  9. You know Maryellen, when we get to meet God, He will not sit us down for an exam on theology or such like. It will be what's in our hearts and how we loved Him that matters.

    God bless you.

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  10. I find handing things over to God really easy - it's the not trying to take them back that's the hard part!

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  11. I do agree with Fr Ignatius. I often have similar discussions with people who want answers to everything, and need every little detail explained. I consider myself very lucky that I'm quite happy to just sit back and trust in God without knowing all the why's and wherefore's. Maybe that's why they say, 'ignorance is bliss' ! :-)

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  12. Hello Mother of this lot and Miss Ellen,

    It should be easy to just trust in God our Father just like little children trust their parents. But we sometimes want to be all grown up; and that's when we start questioning and wanting answers.

    God bless you Mother and Miss Ellen for writing in. Thank you.

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