Gathering Together

GOD IS EVERYWHERE

The Gospel of Thomas is a part of the Nag Hammadi Scriptures discovered near the Nile River near the city of Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. It is a book of wisdom and is considered a Gnostic text. It consists of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus, which are meant to direct one on salvation and life.

The Gospel of Thomas (translated by Stephen Patterson & Marvin Meyer)
v.77 Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all; from me came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me.”

I would like to deconstruct the popular theory among Christians that God or Jesus lives primarily in the physical church.

We Christians have always suffered from an obsessive disorder when it comes to God. We think we own God, instead of the other way around. We pray for God to do our bidding and pitch fits when God is not obedient. It is only natural since we tell God what to do, how to act, and how to please us, that we tell God where to live. 

Restricting God to within The Holy Baptist-Catholic-Methodist-Presbyterian-On-the-Corner-of-Your-Block-Evangelical Church is like trying to squeeze the expanse of the sky into a tiny little box. We refuse to let God reign supreme and insist on locking God into the four walls of the church. God is too big to be confined within a building, especially a building that we ourselves can’t stand to be confined in after a certain amount of time.

It is common to hear church folk tell people who do not attend church that they should go to church and get saved; that they need to go to church so they can get closer to God.  Sometimes it is said that the fires of hell crave those who don’t walk inside the church house.

But when we look at the life of Christ, we see him more on the street than in the synagogue. He is where the people are. We see him preaching from a mountain top (Matt. 5), sitting on a boat docked on the beach (Mark 3:7-12), chillin’ at his homeboy’s house (Matt. 8:14), feeding people spiritual and physical nourishment in a wide open space (Mark 6), sitting by a well (John 4), and just healing while strolling down the street (Luke 5). In Mark 1:12, even when he had been filled with the Holy Spirit and called to preach, he was driven into the wilderness with the devil and wild beasts. Probably because the Lord knew it would be less dangerous than dealing with church folk. After all, Jesus affectionately called church folk hypocrites and vipers. 

God is where the people are: the clubs, the street corner, the office, the football game, the porn shop, the crack house, and actually The Church. God is everywhere and if we “Church folk” actually want to become Christians one day, I suggest we be willing to be everywhere too.

Jesus said, "Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me.” Therefore we must not forget to seek the people hiding in the woods or the ones who crawl under rocks, because Jesus is there also. Jesus dwells in the bright hilltops of the world as well as the dark misshapen cracks of the earth. David says in Psalm 139:7-10, “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of morning and settle at the furthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.”

And the Church of Christ being the body of Christ has to be willing to go everywhere Christ dwells. We can’t be “too good” to not go where Jesus went. Church cannot be a church of God if the message is anti-compassion, anti-community, because a deficiency of both is anti-Christ. 

Make no mistake, I do not concur with Rapper Jay-Z who thinks life begins when the church ends. So, please don’t grab your torches and prepare to burn down buildings. We need those buildings as central meeting places to offer fellowship, praise, a place to implement community action, to educate, and advocate.

The spiritual church just should be magnified over the physical church. If God is everywhere, and Christians are everywhere, it is only logical that the church should follow us everywhere we go.

Jesus said I am all. That is inclusive of everyone. That includes that stripper that you think is grimy, the homeless man you think sticks too much to speak to, that pretty girl you are jealous of, that man who has more money than you, the misses who looks like a mister, and that person at McDonald’s with the worst attitude. If Jesus is all, we followers of Jesus must love all. A God who created us all must surely have compassion for us all. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made!

And we must always remember that God can be found anywhere! There is no place too far and secluded that God cannot reach. There is no soul so dark and demented that God cannot change. There is no person so tattered and torn than God can not heal.

C.S. Lewis says, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscious, but shouts in our pains.” Through it all God is there. God is everywhere!

The Mexican gardener, who picked me up when I fell flat on my face, seemed more like Jesus than the preacher who’s too big time to shake my hand. I’ve felt the presence of God listening to Alanis Morsette belting "Thank You" more than I have listening to the church choir’s rendition of Byron Cage. The contrite lamination of Tupac rapping "Shed so Many Tears" is as valid as a testimony before benediction. The Gospel of Thomas as well as the Gospel of John reveals that God is there too! Stop thinking that only your church or denomination has God’s personal cell phone number. A person can come to Christ at the movie theater as well as the pew. A change of heart has no geographic location and God does not either. The earth belongs to God and all the places thereof!

People, God is everywhere!

By: Violette L. Reid

www.violettereid.com

 

Copyright ©2011- Violette Reid