Here is a link to a very funny video, about a silly game involving a wooden spoon. Have a look and then come back and read on.
I would like to take a break from our Liturgy journey and look at where we get our picture of God from. So, we’ll start with a myth I have now come to call (following finding the prank clip) – the myth of the wooden spoon god.
The myth in it’s simplest of forms is this; that God has seen all of your life to date and is continuing to watch you go through life on the understanding that all is OK (just like the game in the clip), but is secretly waiting for the best time or your happiest moment to hit you with a wooden spoon to correct you for your past sins, previous life style, sexual preference, etc. The myth takes various forms depending on how you have lived your life – but it always essentially comes down to this format.
Now, I do acknowledge that God can and does bring correction to us all, but I cannot see from scripture that God is telling us one thing while He is secretly planning to punish you for something you did x number of days/weeks/years ago. He often tells people that unless they repent he will do x, y or z, but it is never a secret thing.
Also, in my experience God rebukes me then and there or brings things to mind that I need to repent of – not “you failed to read your Bible six weeks ago, therefore your child won’t sleep tonight”. Now, I’m being silly – but essentially that is what we are saying when we buy into this picture of God.
God reveals himself throughout the Bible as Father, and as a father I would never dream of doing this to my child – so why do we assume this is how God operates? God is interested in refining our character to be more like Jesus and the correction always has that intention.
The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:8 that God is Love and in Romans 5:8 we are told that God demonstrates this love through Jesus’ death while we were still sinners.
Now, imagine if you will a scene. You go to the doctors and find out from the doctor that the test results are back. The doctors have found a tumour that is operable and should be removed easily. So you are booked in for a week Tuesday.
Tuesday comes around and you meet your surgeon and anaesthetist and they explain what is going to happen. You are sedated and the surgeon performs his job. You come too several hours later and are moved into recovery.
The surgeon comes to see you and you ask how you are doing and then He explains the surgery was the best he has ever done and has removed the tumour and you should be out in a few day and back to work within a month. Friends and relatives start to visit and ask after you,. To which you reply, “great, it’s all sorted and I will probably be home in a few days and back to work in a month”.
Now, let’s look at this story from a different angle. Did you ever see the tumour? Were you aware of the surgeon at work and did he show you the tumour once it was removed?
On his word and his word alone, you have believed that he has operated and removed the tumour and that you will be back at work in a month.
How much more can we trust the word of a God of love?
Romans 3:4 says let God be true and every man a liar.
We have the truth in the word of God. We are told in the Gospel of John that Jesus is the word of God, not one of the words of God, the word of God. The Book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the express image of the Father. Not one of many images, the image. Jesus himself said if you see me, you see the Father (John 14:8-11).
Never once does Jesus come across someone who is sick or in pain or suffering and say “Sorry, it’s God punishing you for a sin you committed x number of years ago, nothing I can do!”. No, He reaches out with compassion, with love and with grace.
The love of the Father is shown in Jesus. Jesus died at the hands of those He came to save. He died for us while we were still sinners. So, I think it’s fair to say that if it doesn’t look like Jesus then it isn’t love!
So, over to you – what is your picture of God based on? And where do you get this picture?
There is far more that could be written and explored but see what you think and as always let me know your thoughts,
Grace and Peace,