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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

God of No Gaps

" wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know. 
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

I recently received the above quotation from a friend who sends out a "Thought for Today" email.  My suspicion is that much of the time many of us think of God as a "stop-gap" God.  Hence proverbs like, "God helps those who help themselves."  Which by the way is probably the most quoted  "the Bible says..." quote that is not in the Bible.  It's old Ben Franklin again.  But I digress.

Actually the Bible is an account of exactly the opposite.   Time and again God is revealed and discovered as present in surprisingly common places, events, and people.  God is present in the wind, the rain, the mountains, the desert, in dreams, in meals, in encounters with people, and even in silence.  Far from being "stop gap", with God there are no gaps.   

So what if we made a small yet significant shift in our thinking and begin to understand God as not incomprehensible but rather totally accessible in, around, and through everything we can see, touch, smell, hear, taste, and imagine?   What if, as the Joan Osborne song says, "...God were one of us...just a stranger on a bus?"

"...Earth's crammed with heaven,  And every common bush afire with God..."   
--Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh

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