Tension

by Brian Wolfe(y)

God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

{John 4:24, ESV}

 

When I was in college, I took a sculpture class, and for my final assignment I glued four giant, empty picture frames together to form a three-dimensional cube. I took red fishing line and strung it tightly around and through the entire cube, criss-crossing it over and over until the whole interior of the cube was a complicated web. Then I hung wine glasses at various angles within the cube, each wine glass suspended by the criss-crossing string. In the very center of the cube, I balanced a wine glass full of water and put a tiny, live fish inside. I called the whole thing “Tension”.

If you are going to deal with God, and with various parts of Christian doctrine, you are going to have to contend with some difficult, seemingly contradictory truths. God is kind and merciful, but also jealous and fiercely demanding of justice. The Bible is God’s Word, but entirely penned by human hands. God knows all things, yet is interested in hearing your perspective. Jesus was “fully man”, with emotions, thoughts, preferences, cravings, a sense of humor, and yet he was also “fully God”, whatever that means.

We like being able to wrap our mind around things, don’t we? I like settling into my opinions and intelligently shooting down any perspective that would try to oppose me. I like to find “the truth” and firmly plant my feet there, never to waver, come hell or high water. But when it comes to God and faith, I feel like I am on a giant pendulum, constantly swinging back and forth between opposing ideas that I believe to be true, but never having a chance to settle into understanding. My tendency is to give up on the whole thing, jump off the pendulum and stomp away, shaking my head and muttering to myself.

I think worshiping God “in truth” must mean worshiping Him for the opposites. It means lavishing compliments on Him like He is our lover, but also dropping down in awestruck wonder because He holds the skies. I believe God exists in the contrast. The next time you are struggling with the notion of worshiping in truth, and the next time you feel like jumping off the swinging pendulum, remember the Tension sculpture. How the little fish can only live in the suspended water because the tension is keeping it afloat.


photo: my pal Brian Wolfe(y)

 

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