Scripture Reading: 1. Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;
I have a little boy who has been in earnest looking for God. When we watched the Christmas Pageant on Christmas Eve he asked if our Interim Choir Director, Darnell Ishem, was God. I giggled. Darnell’s powerful voice obviously struck a chord with him and as he heard the melodies coming from Darnell’s mouth, strong, and filled with love and emotion he reasoned that this must be God. Later, during the Christmas Eve service, he reasoned that if Darnell is not God then God must speak through him. Explaining where and who God is to an inquisitive four-year-old has been a real test of faith and patience. These are questions that many of us adults if we sat and thought about it would struggle to answer.
I told my son that while Darnell is not God, God lives in all of us through His love. I think in figuring out just who or where God is, we have to start with who His people are. I always tell my children that at the end of the day our actions, words, and faith are who we are. When we are in a community of people, some we may like and agree with more than others, we treat everyone well because it’s about who we are not about what someone else has said or done.
We live in a culture where we are quick to “cancel” people for their very worst moments instead of forgiving them and encouraging them to do and be better. In this culture of canceling, we cancel things like grace. Grace has no spot at the table if we are canceling guests. In a time of such civil unrest I, like my son, ask where is God? Who is God? Unlike my son, I can read, and as I read what the Psalmist wrote I am comforted by knowing that God’s people, though flawed as we are, are seeking righteous truth through love and honor. We can despise that which is vile while doing no harm to a neighbor or a building. We can speak freely, our truth, and through that truth share grace and love.
When my son asks who God is, I say look at His people. That’s who God is. God may not be visible, standing right in front of you with a face that you can see in this exact moment but his people are. Where is God? Where is He when the world is falling apart? He is the comfort, He is peace, He is love, He is not canceling us, He is asking us to do better. He is right here. He is ever-present.
More than ever, I think it’s important to meditate on who we are as followers of Christ and be that example for these young people who are looking for a tangible God that they can touch and feel. If our faith and behavior fail to show them God then they might seek refuge elsewhere. There are a lot of four-year-old little boys asking if this God or that is God and my hope is that what they see is the God in our actions, in our words, and through our faith.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your grace. Thank you for showing us who you are through who you want us to be. Thank you for love and mercy for if it were not for you we might not know what those things are. Thank you for your truth and your presence through the still nights and the tumultuous times. We pray that you give us eyes to see You, to feel You, to know that you are there so that we may stop looking for you and abide in you. In Jesus’s name, we pray.