Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Getting Past the Imagery

The formula for preaching used to be: three points, then wrap it up with a poem. We younger, smarter(?) preachers made fun of this old fashioned style. Preaching then evolved into telling three stories and wrapping it up with a single point. But lately I've come to see that sermons have evolved to having several stories with no point at all!

Which reminds me to stay sharp and clear in the pulpit.

Part of the problem lies in that our theology relies heavily on imagery, metaphor, and analogy. These are literary tools that I love and use liberally. But I'm aiming for reality.

Ultimately, I don't want to know what God is like. I want to know who God is. I want to sweep away the imagery to see him as clearly as possible.

Moses demanded to see God face to face, but God refused, saying, "You can only see my back. No man may look at me in the face and live." (See Exodus 33:18-23).

I interpret this to mean that we can see where God has been, but maybe not where he is now.

However, the New Testament scripture teaches that we not only get to see God, but we get to know him intimately: "that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3).

That's what I want. I want relationship with the real God. Not a dissertation on what he is like.

So tell me stories. I like them. But give me the real God. I need him.

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