A Finger Pointing at the Moon

Life Notes—October 4, 2012 

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17 

There are several old wisdom tales from various traditions that make reference to a finger pointing at the moon.  The story goes something like this: I have experienced the moon and you wish to have that experience, too.  So I point to the moon to help you find it and, thus, experience it.  The finger I use to point to the moon for you is not the moon, nor are any words I use to describe the moon.  To experience the moon you must find and experience it for yourself.  The most I can do is try to point you in the right direction.

Many of us for many centuries have sought our Creator.  We have believed in and experienced a power and a life that transcends what we see, hear, taste, touch and feel on earth.  We have experienced things that are inexplicable by the laws of science as we know them, and we call them miracles and want to know their source.  We long for assurance that this life is not all there is—that when we breathe our last breath on earth that, somehow, our essence will live on.  We see the chronically ill and downtrodden, the social misfits, the impoverished and the hungry and we want to believe there is hope for a better life for them, if not here and now, then somewhere and sometime.

In our Christian tradition, scripture is like a finger pointing to God.  It was written by human beings who were inspired by God from their own experience, to help lead us to our own experience of God.  God is not the scripture, nor was scripture dictated by God and transcribed by unthinking scribes.  Scripture is intended to make us think, to help us contemplate our life experiences in light of the experiences of others.  It helps provide context for the ups and downs of life, and helps us understand that which has permanence and that which is transitory.  It tells the story of others’ experiences of God.

In the Methodist tradition, the message of scripture is given context by reason, experience and tradition, each serving as another finger pointing to God, each with a unique and vital perspective—informing us, inviting us, calling to us.  God is not the finger, nor is God scripture, reason, experience or tradition.  But when we hungrily consider where they point, with prayerful contemplation, we are led to experience the One Living God, the Source of our being, the One in whom we live and move and have our being.

Communion will be served at all services this Sunday. Mitch is preaching downtown where Life worship is at 10:00 AM in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Tom will be preaching at the west campus where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.

Come home to church this Sunday.  Come see where the finger leads you.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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