John Friesen, in “Experiencing God”, examined the historical period we worship in today with its diversity, and related our experience to the Christmas season. The post-modern age we worship in is notable for its insecurity and anxiety despite great wealth and lack of want for the vast majority. Our worship darts in many different directions, from relating sustainable agriculture to the church, dreaming dreams, to reinterpreting scripture in service of new paradigms. Our thirst for God has developed a different shape in a “century without God”, one that demanded rational explanations for belief, yet now turns to feelings and emotions for validation. Diana Butler Bass’s book “Christianity after Religion” asks us to consider our estrangement from God and turn our hearts toward Him. Reasons for our estrangement may include lack of purpose in life, fear of others, guilt, resentment, striving for riches and need for approval. John suggests that our inability to sense God with us at all times may emphasize our separateness, and comments from Philip Yancey that “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance… the pendulum will swing from one side to the other”. Thus does the faith of the mystics model for us the way in which our journey should go. A mystical experience of John’s, when young, was foundational to his trust that God would always be with him. Thus the message of Luke’s Christmas story (2:10-12) is as current today as two thousand years ago, as theologians as prominent as Barth acknowledge – because “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. [AP]
NOTE: there was no audio recording of this sermon.