A few years ago, I was teaching a Year 4 class ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. I was not far into the lesson when one student said: ‘I already know this’. I asked him to say it for me. ‘Our father in heaven, hello be your name…’ I stopped him to explain that God’s name was not ‘Hello’. I explained that the correct word was ‘hallowed’, which means respected or honoured. I wonder how long he would have thought ‘Hello’ was God’s other name, had we not had that lesson. This was a fairly simple misunderstanding to sort out, but other misunderstandings about God are not always that easy to correct.
Some people who have experienced great sadness or who live with constant pain would understandably find it difficult to believe that God is both loving and powerful. Yet there are others who have experienced much personal sorrow and hardship who would say that without God’s grace they would not have been able to cope. Similar situations but very different responses. Some scientists study the vastness of space and are overwhelmed by its immensity, others see in the wonder of the universe the fingerprints of a Designer and are led to faith in God.
The concept of God is largely beyond our limited comprehension, and it is inevitable that we do have misunderstandings or that we attempt to create a God in our image. Yet when we consider the person of Jesus Christ who perfectly showed us who God is (‘If you have seen me, you have seen the Father’), then we gain a clearer understanding of who God is. When a person discovers for the first time the love and peace of God, many, but not all, misunderstandings will fall away. The search for God’s grace and love is a search worth pursuing.
May his peace be with you,
Senior School Chaplain