Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Readings for July 19, 2020; Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 44:6-8; Psalm 119:57-64; Romans 8:18-27; Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
“This is what the Lord says— . . . I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? . . . Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” Isaiah 44: 6-7a, 8b
Do you fervently believe in God? Do you seek the guidance and favour of the Almighty? Well, you are not alone.
There are many people of many religions that seek their god. Yet, there is one God. Some people generalize everything and proclaim that all religions are the same. However, from our above passage in the Old Testament – writings from which many religions believe is God in history- we are told that there is one God. So why so many religions, so many beliefs?
If God is God, the one and only, then the issue must fall on humankind. And really that makes sense. As in many aspects of our lives, people walk a path of stubbornness, or a path of trying to make sense of things that are not sensible, or see God through the hypocrisy of humankind and so change their view of God to address the hypocrisy. At any point in time, there was an origin of each religion, an origin that included the thoughts of humans about God. So over centuries and centuries, we have a world of many religions and of many gods, all of whom say their god is God. Yet, there is only one God, as our above reading states. To me, this is mind boggling?
I am not a scholar nor theologian, but this I know: the one and only God loves each and everyone of us. He loves you with a love beyond comprehension. He created you intimately. He is a jealous God for your attention. However, I also know that he hates evil and sin. He is a God that expects perfection and righteousness, for he is perfection. Weighing our good deeds against our sin does not cut it. All the ‘doing’ – I do this and I do that, I go to church/mass/temple/etc. and I’m a nice person- doesn’t cut it. One little tiny sinful thought or selfish act, bars us from him. In fact many religions address this connection between humankind’s sinfulness and their atonement with God. It seems there are many religions that have many laws and rules that permit humankind to make atonement for themselves. But in all of them, for all of humankind, there is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to reunite with the one and only God, the first and the last, the great I AM. Truly I ask those whom are attempting such justification, “Do you feel justified? Do you feel redeemed? Do you ever feel your ‘doing’ has made you right with God? Is he happy with you yet?”
Let’s be honest, all you have to do is truly, and honestly, look within yourself. Put away the pride and see the depth of sin within you. You and I cannot escape it. But the one true God, Creator, knows our sin – yours and mine- and our inability to obtain atonement on our own. He understands the depth of sin in each of us and desires us to lay it before him. There is nothing in/about us that is surprising to him.
Therefore, I challenge all people of all religions to seek the one and only God in his truth. Ask him to guide you in his truth. Do not just go to your god to help you in your trials, to fulfil the requirements of religion, but go to him to truly know him. Seek him in order to know the God of Creation – the Creator; to see the one and only God in history through the Old Testament. Yes, ask him to reveal his true self in prayer and seek him earnestly. Then, and only then, be prepared and open for him to answer you and to reveal himself to you in his truth. For he will answer. God is faithful and merciful and he will answer. Just look at the Etheopian in Acts 8 of the Bible or Cornelius in Acts 10.
For there is one God and he has told us his plans for humankind- for you and me, for all peoples of every nation around the world. There is no difference. Remember, he says to all of us, “I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? . . . Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (Isaiah 44: 6-7a, 8b) Therefore, as you believe that God exists, then seek the one and only God in his truth, and he will show himself to you. He loves you. He has redeemed you. And he will draw you to himself. He is faithful and he will do it. In humility and sincerity pray to him that he may be found and be ready for Him to answer.
Prayer: Dear God, the one and only God, guide my heart to know you in your truth. Forgive me my sin, and if I am blinded right now of your truth, please make it clear to me. Forgive my stubbornness and open my heart to know the depth of love you have for me and the plan to bring me back to you despite my own inability and sin. Let me know you, the one and only God. AMEN!