Posts Tagged ‘“Knowing” God’

On Knowing God

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is 66: 18-21; Heb 12: 5-7, 11-13; Luke 13: 22-30

Dc. Larry Brockman


Picture that scene in the Gospel again.  Someone has passed on to the next world, and they are knocking at the doors of heaven.  “Let me in”, they say.  And what does Jesus say happens in the parable?  The Lord says “Go away, I don’t know you”!    That’s a very disturbing story, isn’t it?  Because we get the impression that the person knocking on the door is a believer and they really want in.

Now, we are all here, gathered in this celebration, because we believe Jesus Christ is Lord, that he is God’s Son, that he came down from heaven, became one of us; suffered death, rose from the dead, and brought us salvation.  We believe in all of that.  So, why didn’t the Lord let this person in?  And what does it mean that the Lord didn’t know him?

And then there is the Isaiah reading, where the Lord says.  “I know their works and their thoughts”.  So, how can He know about our thoughts and all of our works and at the same time tell us He doesn’t know us?

Well, God is all knowing, isn’t He?  So no matter who we are, God knows about us.  He knows about what we think and what we do.  He knows about the deepest secrets of our hearts.  But knowing about us is not the same thing as knowing us.  Knowing us is a two way knowing.  Think about it this way.  We might say, “I know you; and you know me”; but what we really mean is that we know about each other.  We really don’t know each other very well, do we?  If we really knew each other, we would be very close friends.  We would not only know about each other, but we would have a certain knowing of each other at a deeper level.  We would be able to see and feel things like each other.  So, I think Jesus is saying that God lets us into the Kingdom when we both believe in him and we know him as a friend.

In our second reading, Paul talks about how we are sons of God.  He tells us that it is those God loves that He disciplines.  And he tells us that God’s discipline isn’t a source of joy; but rather, it can even be painful.  Then, he goes on to say that discipline “Brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.”  The peaceful fruit of righteousness!  And how are we trained by discipline?  Two things:  First, we need to accept our discipline and to learn from it.  That means whatever our trials; we have got to be willing to face them, not try to run away from them.  And second, we need something to help us through the process.  Specifically, we need someone there to lead us through the pain to the righteousness- someone like a trainer.  And it is God that wants to be right there with us,   Helping us as a trainer every bit of the way.

You see, God is not asking us to do anything that He didn’t ask His son to do.  Jesus suffered greatly and was put to death.  And yet, he bore that suffering and the trials that were his Father’s will for him.  Elsewhere Jesus says that his burden is light, and his yoke easy.  That may sound like a contradiction, but we need to understand the context.  Whatever our burdens in this world, they are easy and light compared to the burden of sin in everlasting life- that is hell.

Jesus makes a great companion in our suffering, because he can empathize with us, he knows what it is like and so, whatever your trials, invite Jesus to be there with you.  Invite him through prayer; invite him to walk with you as you experience your difficulties in life.

I heard an interesting story recently.  It seems a pastor began noticing a man in his Church each day.  The man was not well dressed, and appeared frazzled.  He would walk up to the altar, kneel, pray for a minute, and then leave.  This happened for weeks, and so one day the pastor asked him what he was doing.  The man said he worked in a factory, but took each lunch hour to walk 25 minutes to the Church and then 25 minutes back, giving him just a moment to pray.  This was his prayer:

“I just came by to tell you, Lord, how happy I have been,

Since we found each other’s friendship and you took away my sin.

Don’t know much of how to pray, but I think about you every day.

So, Jesus, this is Ben,  Just checking in today.”

Then, all of a sudden, Ben came no more to the Church.  The Pastor found out at the Factory that Ben was in the hospital.  The nurses at the hospital told him that Ben was all alone and had no visitors.  The Pastor visited Ben, and asked him about what the nurse said.  Ben told the Pastor the nurse was all wrong.  Because each day Jesus visited him and said:

“I just came by to tell you, Ben, how happy I have been,

Since we found this friendship, and I took away your sin.

I think about you always and I love to hear you pray,

And so Ben, this is Jesus,  Just checking in today”.