Year two of theme-based ministry — here we go! We’ve already explored the themes of “Welcome” in August and “Covenant” in September. Since the beginning of this program I’ve heard requests for us to explore the concept of “God,” and probably an equal number of requests not to explore the word “God.”
I think this means we really need to explore the theme of “God.”
The challenge is that it means so many different things for so many people. One thing is certain, though: It’s the most universal symbol humanity has created to denote the sense of “ultimacy” (what Paul Tillich poetically calls “the ground of being”) that all humans feel when engaged in something so much larger than ourselves that it exceeds our capacity to describe it with language. Notice I said a feeling, not necessary a being, because that is the only way we experience ultimacy. Put another way, God is that which encompasses all, yet is fully contained in everything.
We have many languages to describe God: theology, science, music, and poetry to name a few. When we realize that the word God is shorthand for something unnamable, we are better able to break out of definitions created by others for an experience that is wholly (holy?) individual.
We just use that word because it’s powerful and universal, not merely because it’s gospel.