Wednesday, January 08, 2014

This week's lesson: discipling through metaphor

Where do you get your picture of God?

Glance through the hymnal, and you'll notice that most of its metaphors come from:
  • Agriculture (cf. "Bringing in the Sheaves"),
  • Romance (cf. "Jesus, Lover of My Soul"),
  • Travel (cf. "I'm a Pilgrim")
  • War (cf. "Onward Christian Soldiers"),
  • and even Medicine (cf. "The Great Physician Now is Near"),
  • though not Sports (which is one more reason why you'll never hear "Dropkick Me Jesus" on a Sabbath morning in church).
Nothing wrong with this -- but it's worth remembering that every metaphor says some things better than others. Picture Jesus as a farmer, after all, and you risk making him irrelevant to city-folk; focus "the Lover of My Soul," and you'll make adolescent males squirm in embarrassment. And yes, God is the Great Physician . . .

But He's also the Great Dentist.

And the Great Physical Therapist.

And the Great Musician, the Great Civil Engineer, and maybe even the Great Coach.

So take some time this Sabbath to explore your metaphors about God: what they say about God, what they say about you, and what they leave unsaid.

And if you come up with some new ones . . .

Then what does that tell you God is like?

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