Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some thoughts on Psalm 14

Psalm 14
Ephesians 3:14-21;
John 6:1-21

“The fool says in his heart: ‘There is no God’”. There is no God. Who would say such a thing? From a place of faith, one can join with the Psalmist in frustration and anger, saying ‘Surely, only a fool will say such a thing’. With the Psalmist we may very well even become very condemning of such an action, warning that God will show Godself and that those fools will soon come face-to-face with their own foolishness. In this Psalm, we are asked to draw a line in the sand and to separate the fools from the wise. We are asked which side of the line we are standing on. Are you standing with the wise, or are you standing with the fools? I’m afraid that life is not as simple as that. I’m afraid that the Psalmist may have made it seem too easy, for one either to belong to one group or the other. I’m afraid that however strong our faith may be, there are still parts of our lives which cry out “There is no God”. If it were not so, we would be completely Godly, completely perfect, completely holy. Anybody here walk on water latterly? You know what I’m talking about. It is the place where one watches the news, sees the suffering of the innocent and for even that split second entertain the thought :”There is no God”. It is the moment of hearing devastating news that shapes your life forever “There is no God”. Sometimes these are fleeting thought, at other times a whole chapter being written in our spiritual growth. But today, we are faced with other ways in which we claim: there is no God.

There is no God outside my expectations.

In ancient faith there was no such thing. It all depended on the will of the gods. It is a very recent development in human history where we live by the philosophy that we are as big as our dreams. The American dream, the dream team, the dream body, the dream job, the dream wife, the dream husband. It is the modern search for perfection and happiness. With this way of life comes the belief that our expectations need to be met, otherwise we feel we have no meaning or purpose. Realistically speaking, of the 6 billion people in this world only a few will become famous, a few will become educated, a few will experience good health for the majority of their lives. Think about it this way. If you have satellite TV at home, the emount you spend on that per month is almost twice the amount of money that the majority of people in this world lives on per month. Isn’t that scary? Yet, when our expectations are not met, when our dreams don’t come true, we dare to say… and you guessed it “There is no God”.

There is no God outside my control.

This is the art of directing God. On the one extreme we pray as if we need to educate God, instruct God, coax God to do what we believe to be righteous and just. There are the folk who believe that God follows their instructions word-for word. A couple of years ago, a famous tele-evangelist came to South Africa. There were posters all around stating: Be in such-and-such a place and you will witness the hand of God performing miracles. To which I thought “Well, I hope God diarized the event”. But it is the subtle forms of struggle with God which affects us more, and I suppose that this is the crux of spiritual struggle, the struggle between the power of God and the will of self. The place where we are not explicitly stating that God doesn’t exist, but that my Will should count something in terms of God’s action.
There is a new U2 song which has been buzzing in my head, especially when these moments arise. The line in the song says:
“Stop helping God cross the road like a little old lady”
It may sound a bit strong, but I think it carries the just of the situation.

But hear the words of the Gospel and the Epistle:

God’s grace is sufficient for all. The miracle of the loaves and fish? Perhaps we have given it the wrong name. Perhaps it is not about the loaves and fish at all. Another reading of the parable suggests that as soon as the boy brought his food, people were touched by his generosity and starting bring out their hidden food. The miracle of the changing of hearts. If we are tempted to believe there is no God, perhaps we need to open our hearts and we will find God using what we have to ensure that there is enough for all: Enough to live, enough to love. Paul is convinced of the extent of this gift of God’s presence, for it is found in one gift: The gift of love. It is this gift which binds families together,, this gift which forges relationships, this gift which ensures that no-one should ever be in a place where they say “I’m on my own” – a place which says “There is no God”.

The fool says: “There is no God”. Let us surrender the places of our foolishness to the wisdom and Lordship of Christ.

No comments: