Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Seminary: Justice Sermons

Two out of the three times I have attended church at Pioneer Memorial Cathedral this year I have been treated to sermons by Old Testment professors that dealt with justice issues. The first was by Roy Gane, the text was Micah 6:8, and his emphasis on the social aspect of justice caused a couple hearty amens to pass my lips and into the hallowed hall. The second, by Jacques Doukhan on the "Hiddeness of God" in Isaiah elaborated three reasons why God "hides" his "face".
  1. He hides His face because of Who He Is. - His name (He will be who He will be) cannot be pronounced because He cannot be named. God is hidden because he is a mystery. He hides so that we will not think we have nothing left to learn of Him.
  2. He hides His face because of our sins. - In Isaiah two sins are emphasized: oppression of the weak and deception. Religious people decieve themselves when they think their fancy worship means they can neglect the poor and marginalized. They think (See point 1) that God is in the beautiful worship of the powerful, when he is actually hiding among the poor and ugly.
  3. He hides His face so that we will seek Him. We take for granted that which comes easily. If God did not hide we might not look for Him. He hides so that He may be found (See point 2).
So I wonder, Is God at Pioneer Memorial, among the movers and shakers, the crisp suits and beautiful dresses, the fantastic organ and polished worship team; or is he hiding someplace less obvious? I have been facing the choice of whether to attend a cutting edge church on campus or join a friend who ministering in what I affectionately call America's smallest ghetto, Benton Harbor. Where do you think I will find God?

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