Pastor Bill Schnackenberg. Centralia United Methodist Church
Have you ever wondered or even asked yourself about God? How do you understand God? Or even how you experience God?
I’ve been thinking about those very questions myself lately. I know it helps me to understand God when I start looking around – looking at my situation, where I live, and where I’ve been, because it’s my experience that drives my understanding. I can read about God in the Bible. I can reason about God. I can look at the traditions my church keeps. But when I look around, that’s when I see God working in our world.
That’s the key for me. God is even more than a loving, grace-giving being. In fact, I often see God as a verb. Years ago I thought God was an ‘it’. But that doesn’t even come close to describing God, because every time I see or experience God, something is happening.
God works hard for each one of us. God’s son came to live among us as a human being to help us recognize God again and bring us back into relationship with God, even in the here and now. God’s spirit is breathing life into the world, moving like the wind.
Experiencing God is like opening your eyes, and ears, smelling and tasting and touching everything around you. The wonders of this world show us God’s handiwork – from majestic snow-capped mountains to waves splashing on the seashore. Or the sound of music playing on the radio. From the smells of baking bread to the taste of a perfectly grilled steak. From the feel of clay in your hands to chance to hold a new baby in your arms. I know that God is working in all the relationships I have with other people because I see light in their eyes. God is working in our lives.
Yet there is one other remarkable activity of God. It’s called the grace of forgiving. God wants us all back in relationship with God. Not just some of us, but all of us. God is offering forgiveness each and every day, no matter what we’ve done, so that we can begin trusting God again and rely on God to walk with us through this life and beyond. God is waiting, patiently waiting, while the spirit of God is working on each of us. All we need to do is open the door and let God in. Jesus opens his arms to us all.
I hope these reflections bless you in some way!