O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by thy Holy Spirit, that being ever mindful of the end of all things, and the day of thy just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here, and dwell with thee forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.
Daily Archives: November 13, 2016
Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
–Psalm 66: 8-9
..The notion of divine revelation is about the disclosure of a view of reality which we did not invent, and which tantalizingly lies beyond the capacity of human reason to grasp fully. Revelation is not about the violation or usurpation of human reason, but is rather a demonstration of its limits, and disclosure or intimation of what is believed to lie beyond those limits. Revelation is about the illumination of the landscape of our world, so we can see things more clearly, and grasp something of what lies beyond the scope of our vision, if only in part. As the apostle Paul put it, we “see through a glass, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), securing at best a partial glimpse of what we know to be a grander landscape.
For Christians, this capacity to see things as they really are – rather than as they are glimpsed from the surface of our world – is a gracious gift of God. Our eyes need to be opened, so that our perception of incoherence within the world is recognised as arising out of our inability to see fully and properly. Truth is about more than logical syllogisms; it is about the meaningful inhabitation of our world.
This University Sermon is set within the context of Christian worship. Perhaps the framework I have presented in this sermon this morning may help us to understand the creative tension that exists within the Christian life between theology on the one hand and worship on the other. This tension reflects – and paradoxically celebrates – both the fact that something of God can be grasped, however inadequately, by the human mind – hence leading to theology; while the same time recognising that so much of God still remains beyond the human capacity to understand – and hence leads to worship, in the sense of acknowledging that the greatness and majesty of God ultimately eludes verbal analysis, and hence is best expressed in the language and actions of praise and adoration.
The rich vision of reality that stands at the heart of the Christian faith both captures our imagination and nourishes our mind. The Christian gospel allows us to make sense of our world and inhabit it meaningfully, while the same time giving us a vision of hope for the greater reality which we believe awaits us in the New Jerusalem. It is, I trust, a fitting thought for us this morning as we prepare to move into the season of Advent, and focus on the Christian hope.