Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Tangibility of God

This blog entry by my friend Mackenzie sent me into an whirlwind of a huge idea. By the way, it seems as if the most impactful ideas and times of understanding of God, humans, myself, the world always begin within some context of community and fellowship. Just hanging out with people, fellowshipping, talking about life and then BAM I realize how important and overarching the idea is that we are talking about and it stays with me for at least a week. These are probably moments when the Holy Spirit really wants to teach me something, but I find it interesting that it comes out in this context of other people – this supports my point exactly.
Read this paragraph from Mackenzie talking about words, God, and tangible feelings:

this all got me to thinking of how words from tangible people impact me deeply and immediately. written. spoken. unspoken. if coming from a tangible person, i am impacted. but from our invisible god? its much more difficult for me to trust the depth of those words. for them to impact me in the same way. i am, and have been, wrestling with wanting to be touched and changed by them much more deeply than by tangible mouths. its not that i don’t believe what he says. it just takes much more of an effort for them to sink in than do those coming from tangible bodies. will it always take this effort? i’m not sure. but today, i was also struck by how the lord uses tangible people to speak to us. to encourage. rebuke. wrap in love. even, and especially, on funky stationery or in a steamy bosnian bakery.

The words of God takes more effort to sink in than those coming from tangible bodies with tangible mouths. The effort for the word of God to sink in to our hearts into tangible feelings is the effort of faith, but God also uses these tangible mouths and words to reveal Himself

God is invisible, yet still tangible. Just because I don’t touch Him directly doesn’t mean that He is not clear or definite in that since of tangibility. Tangibility can mean the ability to touch something or the ability to discern something as clear or definite. Moses saw the back of God’s glory and came down from the mountain with his face radiating from that glory of God (Ex. 34). We cannot touch Him, yet He touches us. We cannot see Him, yet He sees us. We can talk to Him, yet He talks to us. Ben, are you saying God speaks words to you? Yes I am. Is it audible? No. Is it tangible? Yes. The communication of God to us is not the way in which we communicate to each other, but that has no effect on its tangibility or clarity.

God is invisible yet reveals Himself through tangible means. A good question to start off with is, “What do you know of God that has not been expressed, revealed, or communicated within tangible or natural means?” I cannot think of a single thing. Creation is an act of God’s words and hands in revealing who He is by the complexity of life around you every day (Rom. 1). Every time you see birds, crunching nut hats, or a soft breeze hits you, isn’t God speaking to you, “I love you.” When you see a smile on a child’s face or their energy build up into a visible and bodily earthquake, isn’t God saying, “I love you?”

God also has revealed a major part of Himself within Scripture. When you read the words of God which came to you by natural means of God inspiring men to write His words, you learn of His wisdom, character, fervent and longsuffering love for us, He is saying to you daily, “I love you.”

We can reflect upon Jesus Christ, the ultimate manifestation and revelation of God to men and He bids us to come to Him, touch the wounds of His side and hands and ask us, “Do you love me?” God Himself came to us and ate with us, laughed with us, mourned with us, taught us, disciplined us, rebuked us, worshiped and prayed to the Father with us, and died for us to bring us to the Father. “Do you love me?” Jesus Christ is the most tangible form of God this world has ever known and all of these tangible revelations give us a peace and assurance of God telling us, “I love you.”

If that wasn’t enough, and it usually isn’t for untrusting people such as ourselves, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us when He left to comfort, guide, and impart the wisdom of God to us. Through the Spirit we can reflect Christ to others as a tangible influence of God in others’ lives. We become a part of the tangibility of God. We touch others; we love others; we comfort others; we bear hug others and write letters to others to show the grace and love of Jesus Christ, the grace and love of God intangible in tangible ways. We the church, the bride of Jesus Christ show the light of God to those who cannot see nor feel because of lack of knowledge or lack of faith.

God is invisible yet reveals Himself in visible ways. God is intangible yet reveals Himself in tangible ways.

When you desire to see, hear, and know God in a tangible way, know He is intangible, but has revealed Himself in creation, the Bible, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the church…us. Know that through these means He touches us and speaks to us 10,000 times a day, “I love you.” The question is, will you listen? Will I listen?


(feel free to email or comment on anything you agreed or disagreed with)