groping for god

I've always found Paul's speech to the Athenians (today's 1st reading from Acts Chapter 17) to be inviting and comforting. Perhaps it's because I've spent so much time in the Pacific Northwest, among the self-proclaimed "spiritual but not religious" crowd. Many of the spiritual but not religious crowd, recognize the divine in the world around them. Sometimes better than religious folks do.

Today, I was struck in a whole new way by this passage, in particular one line.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world
with justice’ through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead.”

So that people might seek God or perhaps even grope and find God.

The desire to seek God is in my experience pure gift. The desire is so strong some times, and I will admit made stronger at those moments when I experience the amazing wonder of God's creation--whether in nature or other human beings.

What I find so comforting and beckoning in this passage as I read it this morning though, is not the description of the desire--which usually hits me. It's not just that I seek and then will find. First, I grope. Which is such an apt description for my sometimes clumsy approach to finding God. And that is not only ok, but is the desire of God! How cool is that.


Sadie said...

Amazing post! And it is true, the entire purpose that moves us is this relentless thirst for God. We need Him, and we cannot help but seek Him.

I pray that you find Him more and more each day.

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Thanks for your visiting and leaving a comment Sadie!

My prayers are with you too.