Wonderful and Frightening. Unsafe But Good.

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Today’s Lectio Divina: I saw the Master sitting on a throne—high, exalted!—and the train of His robes filled the Temple. Angel-seraphs hovered above Him, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew. And they called back and forth one to the other, “Holy, Holy, Holy is God-of-the-Angel-Armies. His bright glory fills the whole earth.” The foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and then the whole house filled with smoke. I said, “Doom! It’s Doomsday! I’m as good as dead! Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted— blasphemous even! And the people I live with talk the same way, using words that corrupt and desecrate. And here I’ve looked God in the face! The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!” Isaiah 6: 1-8 (MsgB)

It’s interesting to note that as Jesus responds to His friend (see Luke 11: 1), telling him how He prays, the Master starts with a phrase (Our Father, who art in heaven) that shocks his friends. As we discussed earlier, the idea that we can approach the Holy God of the Universe, the Great I AM, using the name, Daddy, is laughable at best, heresy at its worst.

Yet, once the shock sets in that Jesus is dead serious when He tells us that our communications with the Almighty need to be like the intimate conversations we have with loved ones, the Master quickly calls us back into a moment of high reverence by adding the phrase…

Hallowed be thy Name.

You see, the healthiest approach to true Christianity is when you and I have a complete view of the God we serve. In truth, Jesus wants us to know that the God of all Creation is a unique Deity, One who lives, moves and has His being through intimate, loving relationships, yet One who is also holy, set-apart, and completely uncorrupted by human selfishness and sin.

When compared with the other gods found throughout world religion, this Three-In-One God we call Father-Son-Holy Spirit is unlike anything or anyone we’ve ever encountered before. For those who love science fiction or fantasy, being around this God, the Divine Trinity defined in our Holy Scriptures, should simply blow us off the charts.

For, on one hand, we have a God who fits the bill when it comes to holiness, purity, and righteousness. As Isaiah the prophet records for us, God says this about Himself:

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55: 8-9 (NIV)

Yet it’s this same prophet, Isaiah, who also notes that this high and seemingly untouchable God is also One who extends an amazing invitation to communion with the lowest elements of His creation…

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55: 1-2 (NIV)

Go figure?

So today, which face of God do you need to see?

Are you needing a God who is tender, loving, all-merciful, all-kind, gracious and forgiving in His ways? One who will embrace you in His strong, all-consuming arms, wiping away your tears and giving you hope for the future?

Or maybe you are needing an all-wise, all-knowing, powerful and holy God who stands for no-nonsense, making a way for the outcast, righting all wrongs, and restoring rightness and justice to a corrupt and sinful world?

You see, for me, over my 60-plus years of life, as a follower of Christ, I’ve needed both. At times, I’ve needed to be reminded that God is my loving Father, my Poppa, who holds me close when I feel the most afraid or the most forgotten. And then, there are times when I need to be reminded that this same God I love and serve is a God of righteousness, holiness, and purity and that the sin and selfishness I’m accommodating in my life is just not good for me or for my relationship with God and others.

So, allow me to ask you once again.

Today, which face of God do you need to see?

I like the way Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams explains it…

Understand what you’re talking about when you’re talking about God, this is serious, this is the most wonderful and frightening reality that we could imagine, more wonderful and frightening than we can imagine.

Or how about the way C.S. Lewis describes the Divine in The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe…

Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh,” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr. Beaver, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Hail to the King. Wonderful and frightening. Unsafe but good. Welcome to the world of Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name. 

My Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for presenting me with two truths about God: He is my loving, caring Father; He is holy and worthy of my reverence. May I hold these two truths in a healthy balance, knowing the Holy Spirit will illuminate for me which truth I need to hear at any given moment of my life. Father God, may I learn the beauty of both; Your amazing love and Your holy righteousness. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My Questions To Ponder: Which truth about God needs to be illuminated in my life today? Am I hesitant or resistant to grow in either truth and if so, what is it that’s keeping me from embracing a God who is both wonderful and frightening, unsafe but good?

So, what is God speaking to you as you ponder on The Lord’s Prayer?

Over a period of four weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take you on a journey (12-sessions) we call Contemplating The Prayer: Pondering Anew The Prayer of Jesus. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read. Each session also ends with a few thoughts to ponder on. I look forward to hearing some of your insight as we journey together!

Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends! 

Click here to go on to the next blog/podcast in this series…

1 thought on “Wonderful and Frightening. Unsafe But Good.

  1. Pingback: The God Who Dwells In Heaven. | The Contemplative Activist

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