God Reality

Tuesday 28/02/2012  St John’s College communion

Preacher: Mark Tanner

Worship Leader: Calvin Samuel

Scripture: Nehemiah 8, Jn 10:1-10

Mark spoke primarily from the Nehemiah passage and remarked on how the reading of the Law moved the people to tears and that the response of the priests was to urge the people to celebrate the blessings of God. His point is that when God reveals truth to us that moves us to repentance, the process is not that we end up feeling like miserable sinners but rather that we move through the experience to a place of growth and joy. Repentance is about transformation.

The image tries to capture a sense of the movement from reading the text to a deeper walk with God. The image depicts the Old Testament as a scroll being seen through a Smartphone using ‘augmented reality‘ to reveal a deeper connection with God (symbolised by the mountains) which is accessed via the cross. So the image is trying to say that our encounter with God that brings life changing transformation occurs as we attend prayerfully, intentionally and quite possibly whilst being part of a faith community with shared experiences, through worship and scripture.

I want to add that often we can also encounter God in other ways. Some of this is shaped by some reading and thinking I have been doing on this very matter.

I have been reading ‘The Collage of God‘ by Mark Oakley for a week or so and finding it very interesting. The basic premise is that our best understanding of God comes not in the neat Package of the Christian creed but rather through a myriad of fragments in the world around us, including scripture, poetry, art and many other media as well as Personal experiences.

On the train today I met a man who caught sight of the book title and asked me what it was about. I tried to explain to him that it was about piecing together an image of God from moments of revelation in the world around us, in things like Poetry and art.

I used an analogy of the film ‘the Truman show‘ where the hero pieces together a picture of the girl he loves from bits of magazine pictures of models.

He didn’t know the film. I didn’t know how to take the conversation further. I think he might have wanted to know more but we parted company at Darlington station.

I continued to think about this question. I wondered if another analogy might be ‘augmented reality’ whereby with the use of smartphones everyday imagery or scenes in the world about us can become triggers for internet based information about the scene or the product or whatever. The idea is to use technology to augment the reality we see with information not readily seen.

Suppose this is like ‘divine encounters’, Moments when we see or connect spiritually with God through the ordinary things about us?  Moments of revelation that illuminates our lives, or the things of God, holes through which the reality of God seeps through the smoked glass of our world? 

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