Sunday, September 14, 2008

God is good - a simple observation

God is good. Among every other attribute the scriptures tell us this fact. They even implore us “taste and see that the Lord is good”. Today in mass everyone around me was doing just that (partaking in the Eucharist), and as I walked up I grudgingly wondered how much longer it would be till I was ‘in the club’ so to speak, until I got to join in, until I could taste and see that the Lord is good myself. But as I approach Fr. Peter he put down the Jesus/wafer and smiled while giving me a blessing. “The Lord be with you Andrew” and he signed the cross on my forehead. As I walked back to my pew I felt so much better, I don’t know how to describe it, it was like when I was baptized at my Baptist Church and I felt this overwhelming feeling of grace, today I felt some sort of grace. It was for me a beautiful image of a priest acting in persona Christi. I was always taught that the curtain ripping in the temple meant that we never needed a priest again, that any man who tried to claim spiritual authority was a heretic or worse a Catholic. But today I saw the beauty of spiritual fatherhood and it coincided perfectly with a verse I read in the bible.

“Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel” (1 Cor 4:15).

I understood what St. Paul was to the Corinthians now, he was an example in faith, a Bishop who corrected their errors, but more than that, a father in the gospel who showed them in some small way the Fatherhood of God. Of course if a person abused this position (as has occurred in many sex scandals, etc) the image could be the exact opposite, but it can also be of great encouragement. I guess I was just writing this story to say that the Lord is good, and is teaching me this through his servants.

God is good, and I will live with that. In the triumphal entry in St. Luke’s gospel it describes Jesus entering the town, and the Pharisees are upset, the people are crying out hosanna (‘save us’) and other cries that anticipated the messiah, and this would probably not escape the notice of the Roman guards. Jesus has this entry in fulfillment of Jewish scriptures (Zechariah) and people are crying to them as their king. This is when the pharisses say “Teacher, rebuke your disciples” (Lk. 19:39) and this I guess was a reasonable request, for if he did not rebuke them he risked causing a riot and a rebellion with Roman force to crush it. But the Pharisees miss the cosmic significance, they miss the God they worship, even though he is standing in front of them (and we probably would too). But Jesus says this classic line to them, “If they kept quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Lk. 19:40). It’s as if Jesus is saying: ‘I am Good, I am God, this is the day Israel has been waiting for since God first called Abraham, but if you miss this, if you refuse to recognize the significance of this, Creation itself will speak be your witness’.

Even in the bad times of life I must always remember the simple truth I sung to kids in Church of England schools over and over again during outreach: “our God is a good God, he’s a good good good good God”.

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