This I believe.
I believe there is Something More.
Something More than you and me.
Something More than us and them.
Something More that is above us and beneath us and around us and in us.
Something More that is that connective thread which links your life to mine and our lives to theirs. And links the past to the present and the present to the future.
I don’t know its full name.
I learned to call it God and learned about it as I learned about Jesus.
And, that name is comfortable for me and makes sense to me and carries meaning for me, but I have come to believe it is known by other names as well.
Ground of our Being.
Each name carries with it some insight and some understanding lovingly and carefully added by the searching and experience of our forebears and by the wisdom of the ages. But whatever name we use and whatever understanding we have only captures only a small piece of that SomethingMore. And, while there is much about that which I know and name as God I do not know and may never know, here is what I think I do know.
That Something More I know as God is fundamentally about…
And about all having enough and all having a place.
And that which I know and name as God stands against…
Violence and prejudice and hatred and bigotry.
And all that would demean or diminish or destroy another human being.
This I believe.
But, here is where you have to be careful…which I hope you won’t be.
The moment you begin to believe that any of what I just said is true.
The moment you begin to take seriously and to make space in your life for that which we know and name as God, it turns your life inside out.
Here is what I mean.
While our understanding of God is often deeply personal, it is not meant to be private.
God calls us to live from the inside out. From what we know of God and of that which gives our life meaning and depth and direction out in the wonder and complexity of the world as it is.
I believe you and I are called to be the presence of God;
To be the eyes and hands and heart of God;
In those places where we are each day and with those and to those who come and go in our life each day. Not just with those who are our friends and those with whom we feel comfortable, but maybe even more important God to those who aren’t.
As the hands and heart of God, we are called to be and called to make the choice to be hope and kindness and compassion and comfort. We are called to stand against violence and bigotry and that which harms another.
All of which is easy to say, but not always so easy to do.
How are you kind to those who are hateful or mean?
How are you hope when all you see or feel are challenges or problems?
How do you stand against violence when the risk is the violence will be turned towards you?
Nothing you do may be more difficult…or more important.
We are to live from the inside out.
As the heart and hands of God in the world.
And, finally this.
I believe in you. All of you.
Because I know this.
I cannot do or believe any of this all on my own.
I need your presence. I count on your questions.
I rely your vision. You challenge me to live up to what I say I believe.
I need you to remind me that “I don’t know.” as an easy and convenient way to avoid the question or a challenging situation is not only the one response I will not allow in Confirmation. It is also not an acceptable response when I lift my head and open my eyes and do my best to see both the wonder and complexity of the world around me. Maybe that is why we are here together. Why church is important. A small place where we can remind each other and help each other and encourage each other and challenge each other to turn in the direction of that Something More which we know and name as God and practice here that we might risk being compassion and kindness and justice out there.
This I believe.