The other day I got an email that made me smile, grin really. It was from a member of our congregation and he was writing to say how small Christianity was feeling to him. The subject line of his email was “God,” and I opened it as soon as I could. “Whatever this is,” I said to myself, “it’s going to be good.”
I read his email and sat with it for a while. He was considering his faith and telling me that he sensed that there was more to it, more to God, more than he knew. He mentioned how “inadequate” he thought we were to address the largeness of God. He said, for example–and this captures the overall thought of the message, “I have this feeling that God is much bigger than I have perceived him to be in the past.”
He was right on so many levels, and I restrained myself from replying immediately. I wanted to turn what he said over at least for a few minutes. I replied. I want to share my reply. Perhaps it can be a part of your meditations. I’d love to know how you keep the “size of God” in front of you.
And I’ve removed my friend’s name because I’m no good at getting permission! I’ll call him Brother.
I’m good and your email made me grin.
The truth is that there is always more to God. We should be intimidated by giving language, by talking about, by giving voice to, and by explaining Who by all estimates can never be estimated. When we suppose language, that’s what we’re doing, supposing. We’re “getting at” Who we can never adequately get. Of course, the Christian Tradition says that all we can know in God can be known in Jesus Christ. But that Jesus is never exactly who we capture him to be by our sad phrases and our “crude symbols” to quote my hero Gardner Taylor. God in Christ is more. That means all of our work and language and preaching and telling and understanding is tentative. That means we must be humble. We must be adaptable and open to how God continues to show us truth.
I hope you’re not discouraged by what you’re sensing. When you feel like God is containable is when we worry. But that doesn’t conflict with Christianity, not throughout history. Christianity’s record is much deeper and broader and longer than what you and I can read and know.
God is always bigger. God is always more. God is always larger.
Tell me more about where you are. It sounds good, brother.