God’s Story… Enter Here
For years I’ve had a daydream about worship.
I’m a United Methodist, and I’m an active member of a vibrant congregation. I participate in worship regularly and am even asked to preach occasionally, although I am a layman.
But I confess that I have a worship fantasy.
In my daydream, there is a door, and over the door is a sign that says, “God’s Story… Enter Here.” I don’t know what others would expect to find on the other side of that door, but I suppose most people would expect it to be about the Bible. Open it, and you’ll step into the life of Moses or David, Peter or Paul.
But that’s not what I would expect, for the biblical record narrates just a tiny fraction of God’s activity in this world, and the odds of landing in something biblical are just too slim by comparison. Don’t misunderstand me: it’s not that I don’t treasure the Bible. I’ve studied the scriptures for forty years and still love to read them and pray over them. But I have found God to be so ever-present in this world that it has only increased my curiosity about the rest of God’s activity.
“God’s Story,” the door announces. Not just Israel’s story or the church’s story, but God’s story. My desire for deeper fellowship with God makes me want to know more. In the Book of Job, God asks Job, “Were you there when I was laying the foundations of the heavens and the earth?” (Job 38:4, paraphrased). My answer would be, “No, I wasn’t there, but I would love to have been!”
So the door beckons. “Enter here.” Where would it take us? Anywhere—absolutely anywhere on earth or out in the remotest galaxy, for there is no place where God is not. And anytime, for God is eternal.
We might open the door and find ourselves among dinosaurs, since they were here for millions and millions of years. And yet we never talk about the Age of the Dinosaurs as part of God’s Story. Why do you suppose that is? I think I know. It’s because we lack both the imagination and the theological grounding to say what God might have been doing for all those years. But if we believe that God is always present, then surely God was there with the dinosaurs just as vitally as God is with us humans now.
As far as that’s concerned, we might open the door and find ourselves in the present, out in our own backyard, spinning around and around with a swarm of gnats. You do believe that God is out there with them, don’t you? I do. Jesus taught me to think so. He said that even the smallest bird doesn’t fall to the ground without our Heavenly Father (Matthew 10:29). And I assume that God’s concern for flying creatures isn’t limited to the feathered kind.
We could go on and on like this, because anything that has ever happened anywhere falls under the category of God’s Story. So when I say it’s my fantasy to twist that doorknob and walk on through, I’m not saying merely that I’m curious about what I’d find on the other side. That’s not it at all. The daydream fascinates me because, no matter where the door might lead me, I would love to see what God is doing there.
Because for me, it all comes down to this: since God’s Story comprises everything that has ever happened anywhere, then the vast majority of God’s Story is what we would call “secular.” It has no ecclesiastical significance, or none that’s obvious, anyway. And yet the very fact that God was there makes it a moment in God’s Story. And like I said, the vast majority of such “moments” in the history of the cosmos have been (apparently) secular. That’s why the door is so important to me, from the standpoint of worship. I want to walk through that door and see everything as part of God’s Story—not as secular but as sacred.
Alas, the door is just a fantasy. But I hope it gives you some idea of what I’ve been trying to do all my life, and therefore what I’m trying to do at this site. Consider each of these blog entries as an instance of stepping through that door, at least in my imagination. I write about lots of different subjects, but always with this same intent: to try to see what God is doing, even in the most secular of moments.
If you have a heart for it, and a vivid imagination, I invite you to join me. “God’s Story… Enter Here!”