Hiddenness of God

Some sources of power and light are too intense to directly observe or fully take in. For instance, some early mornings I get on an East-facing road to head to work. The sun coming up over a blue-sky horizon is blindingly intense. Even with the windshield visor pulled down, the light seems to find its way around it to my eyes, making driving an irritating chore.

This is a crude metaphor for the goodness and rightness of the hiddenness of God, who knows the full revelation of himself is sometimes not in his or our best interest. We tend to think that when God is hidden he is mad at us, disappointed in us or disapproving of something we are thinking, doing or saying. But what if in all God’s perfect wisdom and love, he knows that his hiddenness is good for us and right for his unfolding plan?

Another imperfect metaphor: God is like a stage director—content to be behind the curtain while the drama plays out on the stage. The actors can do their thing—even missing a cue now and then or misstating a line, but the director, God, remains fully in control of the outcome of he play.

This thought leads naturally, in my mind at least, to another important mental commitment: never let yourself linger on bad thoughts about God. You and I will of course be occasionally tempted in this direction, but always make your way back to belief as soon as you can, to confidecne that God knows and chooses the best path to his ends—in both cosmic and personal senses.

Stop the knee-jerk judging of yourself when God seems absent or hidden. Think of this in childlike ways, that followership of Jesus is meant to be a free-hearted and joyous collaboration of your life and his. This implies moments of closeness and moments when it is best for your spiritual eyes that they not be blinded by the full disclosure of God.

What do you need to do to learn to trust God in that way?

Christmas Eve Service: Lessons & Carols

A Family Service / Children of all ages Welcome!

Wednesday, December 24 at 5pm
Lessons & Carols is a simple Christmastide tradition of narrating the story of Jesus’ nativity, his coming to humanity…God with us. The lessons are taken from the Bible and interspersed with the singing of traditional Christmas Carols and candle-lighting. Join us for an evening of storytelling and singing!

Location: Holy Trinity Church

Vanguard University in Needham Chapel, 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Advent Readings: Sunday, November 30

Readings: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, Mark 13:24-37

Advent 1: Our focus for this week is: Hope. Final Christian hope has always been rooted in the Second Coming of Christ, at which time he will put the world back in its rightful state—no more unrelenting pain, desperate injustices or bitter crying. Because of the first coming of Jesus wherein he inaugurated God’s kingdom on earth, this reality is, in part and imperfectly, already among us.

Interaction with the kingdom already among us requires periodic inaction; pauses from trying to make it in our world so that we can be attentive to loving God and our neighbor. Without this attentiveness we lose hope. The world is too changeable and flimsy. God and his kingdom are sure and unshakable.

Brueggemann suggests that the rest of God is in stark contrast to the “gods of Egypt”. “The gods”, he writes, “are confiscatory; they demand endless production and authorize endless systems of production that are, in principle, insatiable.” The governance of God, on the other hand, as seen in the creation accounts of Genesis “is not marked by work​​aholism, by anxiety over the full-functioning of creation or by the notion that creation depends on endless work.”

· Do you feel trapped between what seems to be the competing claims of “the gods” verses God?

· Why? Do an honest inventory: what do you get out of endless productivity? What might you be missing in God’s gift of rest?

· What do you fear about rest, about disconnection from the world or about inactivity?

· Talk to God about what you are discovering about your life, activities, and habits of work. Creatively consider ways you might disengage through the week in order to experience God’s gift of rest.

Ordinary Time Readings: Sunday, November 23

Reading:  Genesis 50:4-21 and Luke 24:13-35 

1.      In our concluding chapter of Genesis there are two priorities of focus: the death and burial of a patriarch of faith; and the recognition of God’s sovereign will for humanity. As you read Genesis 50:4-21 draw some conclusions for yourself, for your life, for your community of faith, for the world you live in.

2.      Often there is a chasm between our theological knowledge of God and his kingdom plan on earth, and our felt experience and circumstantial difficulties. How might the story of Joseph’s life bridge the chasm for you? What challenges you? What encourages you? What fosters faith or renews hope? How might this story fuel your prayers?

3.      Read a well-worn story of discouraged and despairing disciples who return home after the crucifixion of their Lord, hopes dashed, from Luke 24:13-35. What do you discover from this story that resonates with you? How does help you in your journey with God at this specific stage of your life? In disparaging times or when facing a deep crisis of faith, what practices help your soul to trust the goodness of God despite the darkness of the day? Even though he might be disguised by your grief, how might you look today, for Jesus who walks beside you? Take a moment now to sit, breaking bread with Jesus through the vehicle of prayer. Let him warm your heart and give you renewed hope as you converse with him about all the happenings of your life.