The kids just finished their two week October Holiday, originally set up so for kids to be able to help their parents bring in the potato harvest. Nowadays it is for people in Scotland to flee to warmer countries and soak up two weeks of sun and vitamin D before entering the cold dark winter. We also went south, 4 hours south by car to be exact, to "sunny" England, for Greg to meet with his Phd supervisor at Durham University. I have become somewhat accustomed to the small villages along winding roads, passing old castles, bridges and historic landmarks. But exploring Durham was amazing. The center of town has cobblestone roads, that wind up to the top of a hill where a cathedral and castle both stand. Very few cars are allowed access so it is mostly pedestrian with all sorts of shops. Some local and well some not--like Krispy Kreme donuts. The center of town is this huge cathedral built to store St Cuthbert's remains around 900AD. The cathedral is currently doing a marketing campaign by building a lego replica of the church. For 1 pound you can get 1 brick and add it to the building. Of course for my lego obsessed kids this is amazing. We walked around the cathedral and then went to visit the lego replica. Interestingly it was only after carefully inspecting the lego model they became interested in the real thing. We spent an hour walking around the outside of the building looking for various statues carved in the walls that would match the lego version. Then we went back inside and they noticed various details, only because they had seen them in lego and now were fascinated to be walking and standing by the real thing.
In Genesis it says that we were created in the image of God. We humans are a bit like the lego version of the cathedral, we are made to bear witness and likeness to the God who created us. And like my kids it is amazing how often in order to understand who God is I look to the replica first-humans. Whether we mean to or not our understanding of how God operates is frequently linked to how our parents treated us and operated. It is as if our understanding of the cathedral is limited to the lego replica. Don't get me wrong the replica was amazing. But it was smaller, less ornate. Can we get a glimpse of God and gain an understanding of us from God instead of the other way round?
How can we get to know the Triune God of the Universe? What does God think about? How does God feel? The bible of course talks about God and there are a myriad of debates about interpreting the bible and what it has to say. I'm not super interested in talking about them here, now. There is another way to get to know God, I believe, through God's Spirit, poured out on all flesh. I think God wants to reveal Godself to us, to our hearts, minds and imaginations. In the last 15 years as I have learned to listen to the Spirit I have become aware of how different God is to those around me. How much bigger, better, awe inspiring. It has required me to let go, forgive, and actually encounter healing from some of the ways God's replica's have hurt me or those around me. And as I have received healing, I can see the real thing, God a little more clearly. It isn't to say we can't learn a ton about God through God's creation. But I want to get to know God from God, from walking around the real cathedral not just looking at the lego.
Have you ever Holy Spirit what God is feeling? Or what God thinks about you? Try it. Take 10 minutes ask God a question and write down everything that comes to your mind, without filtering it. Then later you can go back through and filter what might be God and what might not. Or you can show it to a friend and ask them to help you discern what is God's voice and what isn't. But before your cut stuff out, just write and see what you discover. May it be that you catch a glimpse of the amazing God in whose image we are made.
Ali Millikan, Author
I love Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. I love my husband and kids. I believe that God is in the room with us; that hearing God's voice is for everyone and that it will change your day to day reality.