It’s not easy to grasp what we can’t touch or see or understand concretely. Paul says today (Romans 11: 33-36), O, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? All this after he has had an amazing conversion experience when he actually (somehow) heard Christ speaking to him in a burst of blinding light long after Jesus had left the planet.
It seemed that Jesus was “taking the temperature” of belief in his disciples in this morning’s often quoted passage from Matthew (16: 13-20) when he asked, “Who do you say that I am?” They were hard-pressed to give him any answer, never mind the right one. It was only Peter who ventured a response: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And what did that mean, really? Students of Scripture today know that Matthew was writing for the Jews who had been expecting a “Messiah” who would restore the power of the nation of Israel. The divinity of Jesus was a dawning concept to the Christian community only after the Resurrection so if Jesus had asked a follow-up question, it would be interesting to hear how Peter would have explained what he meant.
There have been many holy people who have said and written many amazing things about God over the centuries. We ourselves have probably tried when asked about our beliefs to give answers that approximate our sense of what God is like. But words always fail. We see intimations of God’s presence in nature and marvel at the wonder of creation each time we are in the presence of a new-born baby. We are deeply moved sometimes after a splendid ritual celebration or in moments of deep prayer. Still, the best we can do is bow in humility and proclaim with Paul:
From God and through God and for God are all things. To God be glory forever. Amen.