Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service
“Nanneeeee,” our 3-year-old granddaughter almost sang, “What does God look like?” With a quick glance in the rear view mirror, as I tried to concentrate on peak hour traffic and keep my precious cargo safe, a host of dos and don’ts flooded my mind. How to answer the question in a way that would not close down her wonder, curiosity, and imagination, but still satisfy a 3-year-old’s concrete way of thinking.
“That’s a great question, Jessica,” I spoke slowly as I tried to dig deep into my memory for a story, a song, something that would say something about the mystery and the certainty of God. I think – I hope – I gave a satisfactory answer, but how I wish I had remembered the story when Moses asked to see what God looked like. (Exodus 33:12–23) How I wish I had a version of the story such as the one offered on the Bible Story page for this week (p. 94) committed to memory, especially where Moses tries to explain an experience of God.
I would have begun at that point in the story where Moses is speaking to God:
“I want to get to know you better. I want to see your awesomeness. Is there a way to do that?”
Moses felt the cool breeze brush by. It was as if God was speaking through the breeze. Deep inside Moses knew that God wanted him to understand…
I won’t spoil the story by continuing. Instead I leave it to you to read, or listen to the recording (in the Audio Stories folder on the Season of Creation, Pentecost 2 Data CD.)
And I could have finished the storytelling by having us both sing “I Feel God Around Me” (p.8 in the Music Booklet, and #20 on Seasons Music CD, vol. 9), as we made our way through the congested traffic. The Bible Story station encourages us to make up verses. That would have been fun!
My experience with Jessica’s question and my search for a “script” with which I could encourage such curiosity and theology reminds me that the story offered each week on the Bible Story page and as an MP3 download is not to be discarded as something for church school or to tell the children in church. They are for us all to take deep into their hearts and imaginations. Stories keep our joy and wonder alive.
However, should you be looking for a more definitive explanation, in an attempt to discourage a thinking of God in human form can be found in the biblical backgrounds, “The Hebrew word translated ‘my back’ (v 23) is achorai, which refers not so much to something spatial as temporal. What God actually says is, ‘You will see my afterward.’”
Some very interesting reflection questions are noted throughout the various stations this week. You may not find yourself at one of the stations, but we encourage you to use some ideas for personal reflection, or to combine some of the ideas with the discussion and activities in Reflecting on the Word for use in adult or young people’s studies.
What, in the materials this week, sparked your imagination or helped you recall an event in your life?