Is God Doing a New Thing?

The question is, “Do you believe God is doing a new thing right now?” The Bible continually reminds the reader that God is doing a new thing, but when was the last time God did that? We are now in the season of Easter, a time in which we Christians remember what God did in Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection. So when I ask is God doing a new thing right now, I’m really asking is Easter something happening right now, or was it something that happened a long time ago?

How you answer the question tells a lot about how you see God, relate to God and act on God’s behalf.

If, for example, you think God did something in Jesus 2000 years ago, then no matter how wonderful you think that is, it still remains something God did in the past. The event of Easter took place a long time ago. Which means what you are doing now is commemorating that event, remembering it, memorializing it.

The risk in doing that is to act as if God has done 2000 years ago what God will do, and that’s it. And since God has already acted it is simply your responsibility to report what happened. Or, worse, to believe your job is to speak for God, to judge for God, to condemn for God. To become an exclusive community that can no longer recognize the new thing God is doing in the world.

I think the most common expression of this "God said it, I believe it and that settles it" attitude is the belief that the original writers of the bible wrote literally, and to think of scripture as symbol and metaphor, or story is heretical.

Well, then. If questioning scripture, if wrestling with what it says and how I am to apply it, if wondering about the ways scriptures argues with itself and believing that scripture was mythos, a word used to describe scripture in New Testament times, well, then, I'm a heretic.

By the way, mythos is the Greek word from which we get the word myth, a word that indicates something that is untrue. What the word originally meant is story. Story in the way we talk about things that cannot be understood through reason alone. Story in the way that Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God. One would think that if Jesus was the Son of God and knew exactly what the Kingdom of God was like he would have given the same description of it over and over again.

But that's not what he did. He never told the same story, we call them parables, about God's reign twice. Why? Because the Kingdom of God is something we cannot get our heads around through "proofs" or "facts" or "literal understandings" of what Jesus said.

The Kingdom of God is not a sum of facts and figures. It's more like a spiritual dance, something you engage, move with, experience, celebrate.

And ultimately you come to believe that Easter is an ongoing process of God doing new, creative things in the world, transforming the world into the thing God intended all along. And  your lives probably look more like this:

You listen for God more than you speak. You pray that you will not judge others that you will not be judged in the same way. You do not condemn in order that there is always the possibility of reconciliation. You work for the inclusion of all people, opening your hearts, minds and doors to the work of God ever creating communities of love, compassion and grace.