WS Update: Feeling God

February 13, 2023

In a recent article Ross Douthat argued that despite statistics showing the declining participation in traditional religious practices, the desire for spiritual experience remains constant. As the poet Christian Wiman put it:

When I hear people say they have no religious impulse whatsoever … I always want to respond: Really? You have never felt overwhelmed by, and in some way inadequate to, an experience in your life, have never felt something in yourself staking a claim beyond yourself, some wordless mystery straining through word to reach you? Never?

In the Bible, this experience is most often associated with God’s glory. As mentioned in yesterday’s sermon the issue with most Christians is less a lack of correct theology and more an absence of the sense of God’s majesty. When I feel anger, fear, shame, or indifference it is because God’s sovereignty, promises, grace, and love are less real to me than whatever circumstances I’m going through. Our emotions are barometers of the reality of God’s presence in our lives. And despite the temptation to think that we have to experience God the way Moses, Isaiah, or Ezekiel did, Scripture reminds us that the heavens declare God’s glory. That the things around us that are true, good, and beautiful point to the glory of God, with the ultimate beauty being the cross of Jesus, where divine love was made manifest. So as your Monday gets underway, take time to reflect on the verses below and in the words of Cheryl Strayed, ‘put yourself in the way of beauty’ this week.

 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
     It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
 It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

–Psalm 19:1-6

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