Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.
Welcome and thank you for joining us this day in our worship of, and dedication to, the Lord.
A couple weeks ago we talked about the difference between hearing and listening. Last week we heard God’s call to humility and away from pride. Today we cover the difference between knowing and understanding.
We can certainly connect with historical personalities, even in our families, who wished to know God. We saw them spending their lives focused on prayer and working toward a deeper knowledge of God which would then blossom into understanding.
That kind of dedication to knowing God is a movement toward true intimacy with God, a kind of love evidenced by such a closeness that nothing can get between the individual and God. This is a truly beautiful state of being, to understand God not in the academic sense, but in in a close and personal way.
Today’s reading from Wisdom speaks of all that confounds our growth toward God. Yet God will not let the burdens of self and earth stand in the way. He grants wisdom by His Holy Spirit to lead us on the right path – the path to knowledge, understanding, and intimacy with Him.
Well, what if I have not spent my whole life in prayer growing closer to God? What if my scripture reading isn’t what it should be? Maybe even my churchgoing hasn’t been what it should be? Am I cut off from knowledge, understanding, and intimacy with God?
No, of course not, and here’s a bit of a shortcut. To know and understand God is to accept the fact that He does things differently and calls us to be so as well.
St. Paul provides us an example in the Letter to Philemon. Paul comes to know Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus. He brings him to knowledge of Jesus – and then as Roman law requires – he sends him back to Philemon. But now something is radically different, the relationship has been changed, because of a God Who sees and does differently, makes us different to the core of who we are. So, Philemon and Onesimus must be different in Christ Jesus.
In the Gospel we hear more of Jesus’ hard sayings. Reject that which binds you down, even if it is possessions or family. Take up your cross. Follow me.
Jesus in revealing His Father to us calls us to a radically different life. He does not want us to just know we should be different, but to understand and with intimacy be different. We are to proclaim our intimacy with God in lives that show our closeness to and trust of God as we take the risks God asks of us in building the Kingdom. The One, Who is intimately with us, empowers us in this work and will blesses us for it.