Friday morning I was out in my kayak at 6am. I watched the ospreys, the herons, the swirls on the top of the water, the shadows of trees getting smaller as the sun came up and the breeze touch the water making small ripples. The morning was a witness to the bigness of God. I used to believe the world was big, but now news travels so fast that an event in China can transcend the globe in a matter of seconds. An earthquake in Argentina elicits immediate response from relief agencies like the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). While we marvel at the bigness of God we see the world getting smaller and smaller as travel times decrease, the internet increases, social media connects people for good and not-so-good reasons and we are reminded of what a commercial from the Olympics kept repeating ... "we are more alike than we are unalike."
In that context Isaiah shouts, "Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes ... who are deaf, yet have ears! Let all the nations gather together and let the peoples assemble. Who among them declared this and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, 'it is true'" [Isaiah 43:8-9].
Each Sunday this month Max and Ryan have been reading this passage as we gathered for worship. It is a passage about how God can and will gather us all together and we will rightly witness truth, whether we are using our eyes and our ears. God demands our witness to His greatness, His knowledge, His sole position as savior and His sovereignty as the one and only true God.
In this world where we are truly one species, a people who are alike, why do we get the idea we can somehow isolate ourselves? C. S. Lewis reminded us that God created us as one people ... all being individual likenesses of our God ... all created to have the freedom of will to love ... all having special gifts to exercise for Godly purposes. We are small but significant to God. In Matthew 16 Jesus tells Peter "You are Peter (the rock), and upon this rock I will build my Church" [Matthew 16:18]. Tony Evans rightly observes that the rock here is a small rock that is part of a big Church. We are individual stones bound together by Jesus in a way that overcomes all that the world has to offer (both good and bad). Jesus is telling Peter, though the world seems big, it is small in comparison to the greatness of God. As Isaiah gathers all people together he is reminding us that a very big God will gather us and call us to either witness (tell about the great God that is our Lord) or unwillingly confess (the confession of those who do not claim God). This "big" world will become very small and the God we have demeaned for a lifetime will be seen as He is ... larger than the universe. Randy