Building and Rebuilding, Naomi Friend (Cyanotype, Van Dyke, Watercolor, 2013)

Building and Rebuilding, Naomi Friend (Cyanotype, Van Dyke, Watercolor, 2013)

I still remember the profound words of the rabbi in my Old Testament (or, as he would say, Hebrew Bible) course at university: If some guy stand standing on the street corner could fully explain God to you, would you want that to be your God?  

Would you want that to be your God?

Furthermore, would you want that to be who you ultimately trust on, find your comfort and hope in, and live for?  

As reformed Christians, we declare that we have a God who is incomprehensible and mysterious.  He has given us a glimpse into who He is and what He has done.  The sun, and moon, and stars; the mountains, and trees, and flowers. These are but a glimmer into the nature of God--His power, creativity, and purposes.  Even Scripture--that which unfolds the beauty and grace of God's redemptive, Kingdom-establishing, covenantal dealings with humanity--fails to articulate in its totality who our God is and what He is like.  

The Belgic Confession puts it this way in Article 1:

We all believe in our hearts
and confess with our mouths
that there is a single
and simple
spiritual being,
whom we call God--
     eternal,
     incomprehensible,
     invisible,
     unchangeable,
     infinite,
     almighty;
     completely wise,
     just, 
     and good,
     and the overflowing source
        of all good. 

And not only that, but He is a Trinue God; "one god, one single essence, in whom there are three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), really, truly and eternally distinct. (BC, Art. 8)"  He made all things, sustains all things, and rules an already-not yet Kingdom. Can you wrap your mind around it all?  

We have a wonderful God. Literally, a God who evokes a sense of amazement and admiration.  Furthermore, the creation, too, is an expression of our God and full of wonder, beckoning us to explore, learn, and take joy in all that it offers.  Perhaps the best example of this can be found in children.  Children soak in the world, finding joy in the simplest of things, and utter amazement around every corner.  Children are inquisitive, driven by a curiosity to know and understand, expressed by the common refrains: What's that? Why? How? 

And this is no accident.  In fact, how does Jesus describe the way that his disciples--and anyone else for that matter--must receive the Kingdom of God? You guessed it: Like little children. With wonder, curiosity, and faith.  

Yet, it could be said that, all too often, we fail to live into this.  Cynically, we think that having learned the catechism, or having been in church the past week, we have plumbed the depths of the divine mystery and its implications for our lives. Thus, we become indifferent to the opportunities to wonder about God that surround us; opportunities for exploring His creation, learning from others, and joyful service. Pride and presumption steal away our once childlike curiosity of the world around us and the people who inhabit it.  

Yet, we have been called to seek the Kingdom of God. To seek is to look for, to pursue. It involves asking questions about God and the world, and exploring the answers in God's Word and the creation around us.  It involves learning about, and being amazed by, the intersections between the Kingdom of God and life in the world. It involves intentionality as we make a concerted effort to love God and love our neighbor by way of our studies, work, and recreation. It involves both curiosity and wonder.  

The amazing thing, though, is that when we orient our life around seeking the Kingdom, everything else fits into its place.  Seeking the Kingdom is an act of curiosity, provoking within us a new sense of wonder at our God and His work, while at the same time crushing our indifference and pride.  When our lives are rightly-oriented around this calling we've all received, our secondary callings--teachers, engineers, artists, and so many more--are energized so that we might serve the world around us as faithful witnesses to our Father in heaven.  When we seek the Kingdom, we find comforts, joys, and riches that we could not have found otherwise.  

So take advantage of some of the opportunities for curiosity and wonder before you. Opportunities to hear from some of the most intelligent, diverse, and influential people of our day at the (almost) weekly lecture events held on campus; Opportunities to explore the world and other cultures, whether that's by studying abroad, going on a service trip, or intentionally engaging with the people who have come from all corners of the world to study and research, here, at Iowa State University; Opportunities to build relationships with, and learn from, the wise, old saints in the local church, and to expand your vision of the Kingdom in Bible studies and prayer services.  

Don't waste these unique university years of your lives. The university is more than the classroom and coursework.  Learn, work, engage, serve, love. Let your curiosity and wonder run wild.  Seek the Kingdom of God.  

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