October 1, 2017 - World Communion Sunday
TEXT: Exodus 17:1-7
TITLE: “Where Is God?”
THEME: God is everywhere, in everything, and in every person.
- Is the Lord among us or not? – Their question was not a matter of curiosity, but of challenge. They had grumbled and quarreled and tested the Lord, and their question for Moses was more like this – “Where is God? You tell us God is with us, leading us, providing for us, but we don’t have water to drink and will die of thirst in this desert. – So is the Lord among us or not?!”
- It would be easy to criticize the people for grumbling and quarreling when God had set them free from slavery through miraculous acts. But if you and your family have no water and food has been scarce… would we not all tend toward grumbling and quarreling and questioning God?
- Think of the people in Puerto Rico right now and the scarcity of water and everything else. Think of people in parts of the world where food and water and basic sustenance are always hard to find. Places in the world where people are literally dying because they do not have enough. – Do we not even cry out sometimes, “Where is God” – in the face of other peoples’ disaster, poverty, desperation?
- The scriptures offer at least 3 answers to the question of where God is.
God is everywhere. – When Paul preached in Athens (Acts 17), he looked around at all their objects of worship and found one altar to “an unknown God.” Let me tell you about that God, he said - the one and only God, creator of heaven and earth. In that God, we live and move and have our being. – The Psalmist said there is nowhere we can go to get away from God – for God is everywhere. We do not need to seek him out, but only to know that God is here – among us, with us – suffering and crying or laughing and celebrating with us.
God is in everything. – It is not that everything is God, but simply that God can be found – experienced and known – in all things. St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, urged his followers to go and find God in all things, with the assurance that God can be found in everything in our lives.
- In beautiful moments(of course) – joy, peace, happiness, contentment….
- (But also) In difficult moments – anger, frustration, anxiety & depression, arguments, disappointment
- When we are content with what we have (yes) – but also when we think there is nothing left (emptiness, darkness, poverty, hopelessness)
God is in everyone. – People often speak of “my God” or “our God” or “their God,” as if there is more than one God. There is but one God, creator of all things and all people. All are made in God’s image. All are God’s beloved. – 1 Jn 4:16 says that all who live in love live in God and God in them, for God is love. True knowledge of God is not about doctrines and various beliefs about God. True knowledge of God is in knowing God – God who is love itself – and living in that love.
- In different ways, it has been said that we find God in one another. Look into the eyes of another human being, made in God’s image – look into their soul and their heart - and there you will find God. … We may have to look deep and for a long time with some people! J But keep looking - for what is true for every person is that God made us good.
- I want to suggest that we are the answer to the question of where God is. God is in us. If we live in love, we know that God lives in us. – We are the answer for other people wondering where God is. Look into our eyes, our hearts, our soul, for God lives in us.
- In practical ways, we are the answer for others when we help them in their distress – feed the hungry, care for the homeless, visit the sick and those in prison. We are the answer when people feel abandoned or desperate, for whatever reason – and we are there with them in the midst of it, offering them love and showing them that God is there.
- Where is God? – Everywhere, in everything, and in every person!