Saturday, October 22, 2011

Walking with the Lord

To unbelievers, a Christian’s relationship with God is chimerical. We talk to a God we cannot see, hear, or touch.

And, indeed, the object of our pilgrimage may seem insubstantial. Christian faith accentuates the past and the future rather than the present. God’s great redemptive deeds in the past. Recalling the past as well as hoping in the future. Heaven. The new Eden. The new Jerusalem. Something over the horizon. Out of sight.

To the unbeliever, God is the invisible, indetectible gardener of Flew’s famous, tendentious parable. Contrast that with real relationships; with flesh and blood friends and family.

But that’s misleading. Yes, there’s a type of solidity to many of our relationships. Yet what they mean to us is psychological rather than physical. Feelings. Memories. Gratitude. Anticipation.

Likewise, some people are very attached to a particular place. But although the place may be visible and tangible, the sense of attachment is not. That’s interior.

The space, the place, the body, the proximity, is just a medium. A token. Just like the sensible world in relation to God.

You can stand next to a friend or a stranger. Outwardly it’s the same. No discernable difference to the eye of the camera. 

Moreover, there’s such a thing as nostalgia. You may cherish something or someone that’s long gone as deeply, more deeply, that what’s right in front of you.  

Mortality doesn’t automatically dissove, or even diminish the emotional bond. In fact, prolonged absence, extended separation, may make the bond stronger than if you never left, never lost.

In that respect, our relationship with God is no more or less imperceptible than our other relationships.

1 comment:

  1. Very good. To add:

    The value of anything in the world is contingent on its usefulness. Gold has no value except where we agree that it can be use in trade for things that are actually useful. We have a bad habit of counting value in terms of fixed assets where the flow of created wealth, the production of useful things, through one's accounts is more real than fixed assets.

    It's like doing calculus where we theoretically determine the slope of a line tangential to a curve at any given point. Where we might theorize based on the formula for the curve, we calculate the slope empirically by taking a series of points before and after the point in question.

    So it is with relationships. We don't know today where we stand with anyone without a history and a hope for the future. Thus, friendships are not fixed assets or mere points along a line.

    The problem with human relationships are that we have only a certain history. With God, however, we also have a certain future. And as such eternity with Him is accessible to us today.