Saint Augustine, the Fourth Century Bishop of Hippo, wrote in his book, Confessions, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Over the centuries these words have described the human condition. Many of us have restless hearts. We are spiritually hungry and we have a need for something more. We want to understand God completely. The hard truth, though, is that we will never fully understand God. The great theologian, Paul Tillich, warned against understanding God completely. Tillich said God does not exist in the way we exist or a tree exists. God is not a being among beings. God, Tillich said, is the being, the “Ground of all Being.”
So we have a restless heart and, if Tillich is right, God remains a bit elusive and hard to fully understand. I happen to think that’s good. If we feel we fully understand God, then we lose our awe for God. We need to continue on our spiritual journey.
During this Lenten season of forty days and forty nights, we spend time contemplating the nature of our restless heart. We spend time pondering “who we are” and “whose we are.” We engage in the spiritual disciplines like meditation, prayer, and study that bring us closer to God. We will never arrive, but we continue on the journey.
During Lent, we go “inside.” Yet, the call is to also go “outside.” We need to put our faith into action. In James 2:17 we read, “Faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.” (CEB) This ongoing balance is critical and worth constant conversation.
I invite you to join us in worship this month as we continue on this Lenten journey. Our sermon series is entitled, “Learning to Live Inside Out.” We will look at this call to go inside so we can go outside. I look forward to seeing you in church coming up!