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CALL : +685 24414
FAX 20429
5th Floor John Williams Building
Tamaligi, Apia

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Thursday 28  March 
On seeking and understanding...

 

Read Isaiah 55:6–13
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (verses 8–9)

As a teenager, I sang in a choir at the local Anglican church. I went there primarily to sing, I hadn’t been a churchgoer before I joined the choir and wouldn’t have called myself a Christian. There was something about the liturgy, though, that never left me. In my twenties, I flitted about from church to church, trying, I suppose, to find something that ‘fit’ me. Eventually, though, I felt myself called back to the Church of England and the rhythm of those ancient words that are, by and large, the same week to week. These words have little bearing on the personality of the preacher, or the politics of the congregation; instead they offer an unchanging structure within which to meet God. It’s not so much the words themselves that are important, but the space their familiarity creates not to think about ‘doing’ worship and instead to ease into the rhythm of it.

I think I took to the comfort of liturgy so much because at some time it struck me (somewhat ironically as I’m writing for this book right now) that human language will never adequately capture God. Although it’s important and affirming to try to understand and debate the ‘ways’ of the Almighty, that understanding is, finally, unachievable. If we could pin God down intellectually, what would that say about God?

So how do we go about seeking something we will never fully understand? Honestly, I’m not sure. But perhaps it begins with a kind of surrender and the humility that comes from us letting God be God. Transcendent; surpassing; intangible; and yet, mysteriously, here.

† Unknowable God, the deepest mystery of all is that you are completely present and utterly transcendent. Help us surrender our intellectual grasping, in the hope that your inexpressible presence will draw nearer.