God in a Box

In last Sunday’s sermon, I contrasted Nicodemus’s careful faith that made him come to Jesus under the cover of night with Abraham and Sarah’s willingness to leave it all behind and go where God called them.

God called Abraham and Sarah to leave their home and set off on a great adventure. God never explained where they were going or why, but they trusted the whisper of the wind and went.

I wonder if Jesus was calling Nicodemus to do the same thing: Leave your country, your family, your parent’s home and go to a land I will show you. I wonder if God is calling us to do this same thing …

Leave your place of comfort and control. Leave your place of security and certainty. Travel without a map; trust the whisper of the wind. Trust God who will bless you and, through you, bless the whole world.

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all trace their beginnings to this exact moment in the Bible, when God finally found someone willing to trust and take a holy journey without knowing where it would lead.

The trouble is that, almost since the beginning, all three faiths have acted as if they had arrived, as if they had the absolute truth. Rather than existing to bless the world they have wanted to control the world, to make humans believe and behave their way.

All three have acted as though they have the truth, even God in a box, but, I believe that there is no box made by us that God cannot blow off the top and flatten out to make a dance floor on which to celebrate life.

Nicodemus went home that night, locked his doors, and barred his windows. He feared what others might think of him. He had too much to lose to take a chance on this wind of which Jesus spoke.

Abraham and Sarah, however, responded to their divine encounter differently. They decided to make their days count rather than count their days. They threw open the windows of their souls and followed God on a great adventure without needing to know where it would lead or how they would get there.

What about us? Will we be Nicodemus or Abraham/Sarah?

by Michael Piazza
Center for Progressive Renewal

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