Sunday, June 3, 2007

Divine Peek-a-boo

Today at church was the last service for my pastor, Charlie, for the summer. He's taking a three month sabbatical over the summer, and is starting it out with a trip to Israel. (A trip which I will narrowly miss, worse luck: it would be fun to spend time over there with him.) In the course of his sermon today, he mentioned how he was looking forward to spending each day "just looking for God", and he went on to describe his sabbatical as a "God hunt".

That's an image which has always puzzled me. Given my Calvinism -- perhaps more of a latent Calvinism these days -- talking about our "search for God" has never seemed the right way to think about it. Isn't it God who finds us? Or rather, since He presumably knows where we are, who draws us to Himself?

But a thought struck me today as I was listening. Of course, in a sense, God is in charge of all things: but I still need to remember to stop when I come to a stop sign if I don't want to get a ticket. And I still need to remember to pick up the groceries on my way home if I want dinner (or at least, if don't want Galena annoyed at me). Pascal once said that God established prayer, "Pour communiquer à ses créatures la dignité de la causalité": to grant us the honor of being able to make things happen.

Similarly, I think that sometimes God hides from us to give us the fun of finding Him. We can't really find him, of course: no more than an infant can "find" his mother when they're playing peek-a-boo. But just as it's important for a child to move from finding his mother when she removes her hands from his eyes, to finding her when he's skinned his knee, so it's important for us to move from being purely passive recipients of God's grace to actively seeking Him out. It's a part of growing up, I suppose: a way for us ghosts to learn to walk on the hard, unbending grasses of heaven.

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