Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More about that Lion

What has happened is that we have turned the focus of our attention away from the deep and dazzling darkness of God and the immensity of his reality and settled, in our hearts and minds, for something much, much less, namely a God who is no bigger than we can cope with.
( Melvyn Matthews)

This morning's reflection from "Praying Together in Lent" practically leaped off the page and grabbed me by the throat. There were 4 of us in the chapel for Morning Prayer and for a little while afterwards we talked about the way God is swept tidily away into a box, with a pretty brocade curtain across the door.
I felt ashamed.
Always, though, there's a balance to be found.

I used to worry that the prevailing theology at St M's was so shaped by awe that there was a real danger that fear would cast out love. The rope closing off the sanctuary, with its forbidding notice "This area is alarmed" seemed a disturbing expression of the collective vision.
"His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form"...
Tremble, then, and keep your distance!

But God invites us to take off our shoes and step closer. He opens his arms. He calls us his beloved children.
And there's danger there too.
I know that in preaching God's love I may too easily present Someone cosy, domestic, smiling indulgently at our flaws and foibles.

The thought of a God I can cope with is truly terrifying.
A God limited by my capacity would be no God at all...
...and I remembered Annie Dillard's words from Teaching a Stone to Talk

"It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church. We should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may awake someday and take offense, or the waking God may draw us out to where we can never return."

So today we prayed for courage and then set out, 4 middle-aged women called to be part of changing the world.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

The "danger" you present, of that loving, welcoming God is the one I am fleeing from at the moment.
For I fear that I may be the one person he cannot welcome...

So thank you for suggesting that this fear is one others may perceive too. Maybe I am not totally alone - or maybe I read things into your post which were not there... Either way, thank you.