The Lord is Lord of the world, by letting it be in existence, by letting each of us live, and, in the midst of that undeniable reality, with all that it brings and contains, coming to us in love. Coming to us there. Coming here. That is how God rules the world He has made. That is the Lord’s power. By coming into the midst of what we have made of ourselves — of our confusions, our sins, our killings, our questions, our weaknesses, our joylessness and our joys, our strengths and illnesses, our grasping and our dying — God rules by making this — which we have made in freedom — the place He comes into to make His own, His very own, in love. That is the world; and that is the God of this world, our Lord.
Creation is the nothingness that God has made into something. Without God, there is nothing.
This is the key point to the whole of reality. If this one thing is grasped – and it is a life’s work to grasp it, I sense – then the whole truth of the world and of your existence is unveiled: without God, there is nothing. With God, you are. But only with God.
Children need God insofar as they look out onto a world in which they are not alone; however much they may feel forsaken, and in fact be forsaken, it is only because of others that this is so, out of their sin and hardness of heart … In coming to be, children reach out for others beyond themselves. The very truth of God’s creative love is played out in the form of other human beings who have been chosen as their vehicles for birth, nurture and growth: parental care, of one kind or another…Hence, children need God because God, as their creator, has given himself to his people as the place where all children – young and old, families that is – find their creaturely lives manifested.
Where else can we go? This is the fundamental question for our world, our culture, our society, for us. God is not an add-on. God isn’t there to mop up. Jesus Christ stands before us as one who is other than everything we have and do and consider worthwhile, and he claims that all these other things are nothing in comparison.
David cries out, “How the mighty have fallen”. There was Saul’s life laid out: he was mighty, he was courageous, gifted, he clothed his people in rich garments, he had sons whom he loved and with whom he fought, and with whom he finally died. David loved them too, grew with them, fought beside them, struggled and then was betrayed by them, yet finally loved them. And now he stands at a distance, looks at them — persons he has loved deeply, if with complicated feelings – he looks at them, having heard of their deaths. And he weeps.
Who is this God? That is the huge question that comes at us in such a Church year that we follow every year. Who is he?, not “what is he?”. So, Isaiah closes his mouth, as he hears the Cherubim crying out: “Holy, holy, holy! This is the Lord of Hosts”, he hears; “the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Is. 6:3). Isaiah does not ask for explanations. He bows in awe, humility and wonder. Who is this? He is God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
To want the good of others is part of the air we breathe, at least in theory. We assume it, as if this is what people have always naturally thought. But they have not and – make no mistake – there are many who do not still. Faith, hope, and love – these three abide.
The real stuff of religion and of Christianity? We’d like to think it is doing good, bringing peace, feeding the hungry, preaching to the crowds, praying on Sundays, and so on. And this is real enough, and powerful enough. But it is but the expression of the more important, and deeper thing.
I want us to think about what this might mean. “In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan” (Mk. 1:9). If God enters our hoping – this reaching out to God in baptism, this hoping for God himself — what is happening?