IVP - Strangely Dim - He's Got the Whole World Coming and Going

October 29, 2004

He's Got the Whole World Coming and Going

So much religion, I've come to realize, is just a bunch of going. Christians go to church, Jews go to synagogue, Muslims go to mosque. Witches go to covens, animists go to the woods. Particularly zealous people go even beyond that: Christians go on retreat, Muslims go to Mecca, Native Americans go on vision quests. Some groups are convinced they're going to space.

God, in the Christian tradition, has his own comings and goings. God comes to the garden to visit with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). God comes to the temple to sanctify it by his presence (1 Kings 8). In Jesus God comes to earth as a human being (John 1). God the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and resides in us (Ephesians 2). And the Nicene Creed teaches that Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead.

God's also gone to some significant destinations: God went before the Israelites into the Promised Land (Exodus 13). Jesus went to the cross to suffer and die (John 19). For three days he went to preach good news to the spirits in prison--whatever that means (1 Peter 3). And as he told his followers, "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14). The Nicene Creed teaches that he went to heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the father. And as he promised, he will come again.

What's significant in God's coming and going is that he comes and he goes for us. In a sense, at least from our perspective, we are at the center of God's universe.

God wanted us, so he made us. He wanted to be with us, so he came to us. And when he came, we didn't know him, and we told him to go to hell. And in rejecting our Creator we reject our own creation. It's enough to send your head spinning.

But despite the trouble we throw at God and despite our tendency to run away from him, God has come and will come again. He has gone to great lengths to make and remake us, and he has gone even further to make a new home for us. In the meantime, he simply welcomes us and waits for us to welcome him in return. If we slow down we can see that it's our coming and going--not God's demands upon us--that's been wearing us out.

So if we can't get over our own urge to come and go, we can take up Jesus' open invitation: "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

***

Wow. Preachy.

I'm now two weeks out from my book's delivery. My contractions are twenty minutes apart. In the meantime, a discussion guide is now posted online at ivpress.com. It's a big file (now in technicolor!) but gives you a good excuse to watch six superhero movies. Check it out and use it with your friends.

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at October 29, 2004 8:48 AM Bookmark and Share

Comments

This your best yet.

Comment by: Dave at October 30, 2004 10:25 AM

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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