A person stopped by the church the other day who wanted to talk to a Pastor about life and faith. This person made a point to inform me that they were ‘spiritual’ but not ‘religious’. We had a discussion that was all over the place and at times quite convoluted. The person knew very little about the Christian faith but had plenty of opinions about the Christian faith and God. Many of these beliefs (opinions) is what they said had turned them away from ever becoming part of a faith community.
Later that same week as I was preparing for my last class with the eighth grade confirmands and met with Jacob Monday, who will confirm his faith on June ninth, I started to ponder the impact that knowledge has on faith. Dose God care about what we know or don’t know? Dose studying scripture and being able to recite the creed, ten commandments and the Lord’s Prayer impact our daily faith? Is a relationship with God dependent on information about God?
I don’t believe that God has certain criteria that has to be met in order for God to love us and relate to us. God loves us no matter what we think we know about God or what we don’t know. However, it does take some thoughtfulness to make informed decisions about what kind of relationship we will have with God. If we are unaware that we can talk with God like a father, as the Lord’s prayer teaches us, we will never communicate with God in a personal way. If we don’t know that the ten commandments are God’s gift for a good life and don’t bother to learn them, we might act in ways which please us at the time but in the long run might destroy any chance of a peaceful healthy lifestyle. If we don’t know any of the biblical stories of Gods’ faithfulness in the old testament how can we truly understand God’s amazing love and trust God’s faithfulness? How can we begin to understand the impact that forgiveness and grace have in our lives without knowing the stories of Jesus life, death and resurrection and ascension? If we don’t think it is important to memorize the Apostle’s creed, how do we begin to think about what God is like?
Knowing things about God does not change God or change God’s love for us. Nonetheless, learning the foundations of the Christian faith does make a difference in what we believe and how we live out our faith in the here and now. Knowledge does not restrain our thinking about God it is the very gateway of exploration to who God might indeed be. Knowledge about God provides an opportunity to have a fuller spiritual relationship with God.
So how has your knowledge of God shaped your relationship with God? I would encourage you to find a wonderful summer setting to comfortably think about this. Write down on one side of a piece of paper what you have learned about God and then on the other side how that knowledge impacts how you act with God. I think you will be surprised and delighted. Example:
What I knowHow I act because of this knowledge.
I know from reading Gen.1-2 that there are 2 I am always looking for God’s goodness
creation stories that teach me different things in creation. I expect God to speak to
about creation and God. through creation. I want to take care of the earth and learn from nature.
God is love and has revealed love. I Jn. 4 I am never afraid of saying anything to God. I am confident in God’s love.