PREPARATION: lighting the candle and readying myself to listen.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
Have you ever looked up at the Milky Way spilling across the night sky and wondered what God is like? Have you ever marveled at the staggering complexity of the human eye and wondered at its Creator? Have you pondered love, beauty and goodness, and wondered about God?
I am wondering about God today as I look at mind-boggling images from the James Webb Telescope which is like the Hubble Telescope on steroids, as it sees so much farther into space and time. There is one photo showing tiny specks of light that are not stars but entire galaxies like our own Milky Way. Scientists say that each of these specks contain anywhere from 100 billion to 400 billion stars, with a trillion planets in each. These images leave me wondering about the inexpressible wonder and majesty of God. What must He be like?
With a naked eye Saint Augustine wondered at the night sky, pondering God’s mystery and concluding: “If you understood Him, it would not be God.” (Saint Augustine, Sermon 52 On the New Testament) Thomas Aquinas experienced the same cosmic awe and said: “The better we know God the more we understand that He surpasses whatever the mind grasps.” (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica)
But today’s scripture sets forth one of the Bible’s most radical and important statements about God, as Jesus says: “no one knows the Father except the Son…” The Webb Telescope cannot tell us what God is really like, nor can Augustine and Aquinas. But Jesus can! For as John’s Gospel says, Jesus who came “from close to the Father’s heart has made him [God] known” (John 1:18).
From Jesus’ words about being the only one who really knows the Father, Jesus makes an invitation; He invites the weary and burdened to enter into the rest He knows with His Father. Like Father, like Son, Jesus is “gentle and humble in heart…”
Theologian Gerit Dawson writes about Jesus revealing what God is like:
“This news is beyond hope. God is just like Jesus, and so we may be saved. God is the way Jesus is, and so we are not left alone in our lostness. God and Jesus are one, and so Jesus is the very heart of God Almighty beating with a pulse of his infinite love within the depths of our lost humanity in order to vanquish and do away with everything that separates us from God.”
The Son of God became fully human, taking upon Himself all of our darkness and sin, so that He could reveal to us the Father. So the poet exclaims, “O Thou, in all thy might so far, In all thy love so near, Beyond the range of sun and star, And yet beside us here.” (Frederick Hosmer, “The Mystery of God”)
With the psalmist we still look at the heavens, the work of God’s fingers, the moon and the stars, and we wonder that He would so love us (Psalm 8:3-5). But Jesus reveals to us the Father’s heart, so generous and gracious that He gives Himself to us; He comes to be with us. He is Immanuel. This is what God is like!
CONVERSATION: I talk with God about the thoughts and feelings stirring within.
REST: I take time to be present to Immanuel who is present to me.