Doubt, Incarnation and God Made Real

Sometimes I wonder what in the world Jesus was thinking with this church thing. It’s all sixes and sevens. It’s a disaster. Talk about an inefficient way to change the world. (Out of Sorts, p.87)

 I have my doubts about God.

And they occur way more often than I prefer to let on.

I know that this doesn’t make me particularly special. In fact, if you don’t have many doubts about the nature of God then I have to wonder if you’ve ever given it much thought.   But as a minister it’d be much easier to deal in certainty than to wade around in questions. But that’s often where I find myself.

There’s this thing that always brings me back to center, though. This thing that calms my mind and reminds me of truth.

Jesus.
Does that sound too corny?
I guess it doesn’t matter, because it’s true.

I know that as Christians we talk about the death of Jesus as the pivotal point of his existence, the climax of history. And there’s so much depth to the meaning of that moment. But for me, I am fascinated even more by the Incarnation. God entering the world in human form. Living and breathing and walking among us.

God, the Father, the Creator, the all-powerful presence that holds the universe together, can be difficult to feel. And I don’t often understand how he acts or moves. I don’t always relate well to him.

And it’s during those times, when I wonder if this whole thing is actually real, that I return to Jesus. To his words about life. To those stories of how he treated the outsider and stood up for the downcast and talked to lonely women by wells and had faith in simple fisherman and made all this complicated religion so simple.

That’s truth I can see. Truth I can touch and experience. Truth that’s real.
Jesus shows me what God is really like.
Jesus makes God real for me.
I love that about Jesus.

What I love about Jesus is exactly what I love about the church.

I was reminded about that in the last few days as I read Sarah’s beautiful words and Trevor’s post this week(I love his honestly and vulnerability. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to go right now.)

Church can be so messed up. We are so imperfect and flawed. Sometimes I wonder why God entrusted his message to people like us. We get it wrong. A lot.

But in the midst of it all, there is such beauty and truth.

There is the older couple who greet people at the door on Sunday. Every Sunday like clockwork with genuine smiles and handshakes and hugs. They remember kids’ names and ask how you are doing and really mean it.

And the ladies who teach my daughter on Wednesday nights. These ladies who create crafts and speak truth about and boys and body image and self-worth. Women who spend hours on crafts and parties and share their time and hearts with these girls. My daughter walks taller after every class.

And there’s the couple whose kids are grown and out of the house. The couple who could kick back and enjoy an empty nest. But they spend most of their time at church surrounded by kids, teaching classes and holding babies in the nursery. They’re the ones who fill in every time someone is needed, who are there whenever there’s a gap. And the kids know it because it’s like they have this extra set of grandparents who love them.

I could go keep going but you get the idea. I bet many of you have your own list. When I have my doubts, when I wonder if this thing is real, I remember these people.

That’s truth I can see. Truth I can touch and experience. Truth that’s real.
My church shows me what God is really like.
My church makes God real for me.
I love that about the church.

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