What does it mean to know God? For many of us the idea of people knowing God conjures up images of scattered brained fanatics standing on the side of the road declaring "The end is near!" Can a transcendent all-powerful God truly be known? Is it possible to experience the divine in our own lives?
In my own experience I have found that knowing God is a pursuit of passion more than it is a destination of knowledge. In other words, God reveals Himself to the soul alone and the soul is not a theologian. In spite of all the time I have spent studying contemporary and ancient theology what I have found to be the most significant part of my spiritual life is simply allowing my heart to cry out to God in times of great joy and great sorrow.
While theological books written about God can be helpful and encouraging, it is only through a prayerful pursuit of God of that we are actually able to discover what it is to know God intimately. Marcus Borg, in his book "The God We Never Knew," writes "God is real. The Christian life is about entering into a relationship with God as known in Jesus Christ. That relationship can and will change your life."
Every church in our community and beyond has its own unique way of interpreting God as He has revealed himself to humanity in the pages of the Bible and in the life of Jesus Christ. Indeed, there are more people and organizations who claim to have cornered the "God Market" than can easily be counted. Despite our differences though, all who profess a risen Christ are united in one faith in one God.
Whether we are Catholic or Congregational, Baptist or Pentecostal, we who have received the gift of faith in Christ are members of one body. The trouble is that we make ourselves so busy interpreting God that we forget to know Him. We spend so much time defining God that we forget to love him and experience His love for us. The central theme of the Bible is that God created us intentionally, out of the abundance of His loving and wonderful nature. You were not created by accident! Your life has meaning!
Today, no matter where you are on the journey of faith, I encourage you to prayerfully, personally, passionately, pursue the God who created you with purpose!
Chris Surber is the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Peru, Illinois. A graduate of Liberty Theological Seminary, he is known for his compassion for people and his passion in the pulpit.