A message from John C. Dourhour, General Minister and President of the National United Church of Christ
My morning began by answering an email from a Sunday School teacher from another part of our Christian tradition. She was taking time each week to teach the children in her care about what other Christians teach and think and believe.
As she would soon be taking a Sunday to talk about the United Church of Christ, she wrote to me with some questions. One of them was “Why don’t you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture”.
That got me thinking again about something we say often in our Churches: God is still speaking.
Some would argue that this posture of radical listening which calls each generation to make the faith its own is the most unique characteristic of this expression of faith.
Many voices from our past have written words that speak to this: the prophet Isaiah writes “Behold, I am about to do a new thing; do you not perceive it?” John wrote in Revelation “the former things have passed away.” John Robinson spoke to those boarding the Mayflower and setting a course for life in a new world, “Remember, there is still more light and truth to break forth from God’s Holy Word.” The abolitionist poet James Russell Lowell wrote in his landmark poem “The Present Crisis” that “new occasions teach new duties; time makes ancient good uncouth. We must upwards still and onwards who would keep abreast of truth.” Gracie Allen told her husband George Burns before she died: “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.”
God is still speaking.
At the very least, that requires us to still be listening.
How is it you open yourself up to hear anew the voice of a still speaking God?
Do you meditate?
Do you, as we used to say, commune with nature? Do you find the presence of God most fully known hiking through the mountains, navigating your kayak through forest streams, staring up into the vastness and beauty of the night sky, or listening to the waves crash against the shore?
Do you harken to the truth of the wisdom seekers? Poets and songwriters and artists and authors; pastors, Imams, rabbis, shamans.
Do you sit in Cathedrals vast and capacious, or perhaps the small, quiet sanctuaries of more modest build?
Do you journal?
Do you hear God in the majesty of a grand choir; in the intimacy of a kiss; in the warm breath of a helpless newborn held closely against your breast; in the wisdom of a grizzled elder with weather worn eyes and the perspective of the decades written into their furled brows?
Sacred moments and new truth and inspired wisdom can come to us along many pathways. Some moments of insight are approached through disciplines we cultivate for that very purpose. Other epiphanies come utterly by surprise, the product less of our cultivation than of some unexpected inspiration that the universe conspires to create.
Gentle traveler on these blessed pathways, remain in a spirit of openness to a new truth that your Sacred can and will speak to you. And may the insights you collect along the way grant you wisdom, make you a seeker of peace, and lift you up on your journey Into the Mystic