Understanding Our Relationship With God

Paul Simon America“And the moon rose over an open field.” So it goes in Simon & Garfunkel’s classic song “America”. These 8 simple words are perhaps the most eloquent turn of phrase in all popular music—and a lyric that should serve as a strong metaphor for Progressive Christians and all those who seek the pathway to God.

When the moon is close the horizon, hovering just above the open fields or cityscapes, it appears incredibly large, as though we could almost touch it. Yet as it rises in the sky it becomes smaller and feels beyond our grasp. It all comes down to a matter of perspective. When the moon is closer to the horizon and our world, we can better perceive its grandeur. But when it is above our heads, there is nothing to relate it to except the tiny distant stars and planets. The moon becomes just another heavenly body beyond our reach.

The same can be said of our relationship with God, the Father. The further away that we place him in a heavenly mansion in the sky, the less tangible and real he feels. But when we begin to see God and the Holy Spirit working today (in the living hour) all around us—in friends and strangers, neighbors and family, and in every living thing of this green Earth, the larger and more magnificent he becomes. This, of course, is why Jesus of Nazareth tells us the Kingdom of God is “at hand”1 not in the heavens above.

Although he doesn’t realize it, Paul Simon’s traveler ultimately finds “America” while laughing on the bus, playing games with the faces, his traveling partner imagining the man in the gabardine suit was a spy. We are to find God the same way.

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To read about Saadi, Barack Obama, the Gulistan, and Islam, please go to: For The Sake of God.

  1. After John had been committed to prison, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God: “The time has come, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:14-16 []