Why do you believe in God?
Today, we celebrate a special Sunday Service. It is a Service which we – the youngsters, their parents and me – prepared to do in months. It is an event, a blessing which we used as an opportunity to get talking to each other about God and Faith. To live a being-with-one-another which is necessary to create independently something Big – like this Jesus-Sculpture. We learned about us and to confide to each other, while we were eating, playing, hearing Music, and talking. I think, by this small group many things were successful and by which a christian congregation consists of: Reliability, to co-ordinate, and to confide in each other.
Oh, experience of the Confidence! If I can talk about my crude thoughts, my wishes, my worries, without – I assert forcefully – without an opponent turning me into ridicule or dissing me, then faith is nourished. These are rooms full of confidence and these rooms represent a christian congregation. I’m certain: Such rooms exist also out of range our church, but they appear not in the same shape. What does that mean?
By this question, I come back on the topic of my sermon. It is a topic about which we were talking many afternoons with all our questions and answers. Nevertheless, I get to the Heart of the topic – two questions: Why do you believe in God, why do I believe in God?
This is one of the most important questions, when we talk about our faith, about God, about the salvation by Jesus Christ, and everything succeeding. But why? I think there are implicit forms of the “why”. For example: “How do you do that” or “What does that do for me”. I’ll try to find answers for these questions.
First: “How do you do that.” I cannot prove the existence of God in the kind of a scientific prove. By this opinion, me and the teenagers got a commitment. We cannot prove the existence of God. But isn’t there another reality besides the reality of the natural sciences – Scaling, Documentation? What is the source of the universe? The sciences got no answer. But for me the basis of God’s existence shines through my experiences, full of feelings. It is clear, that feelings are not to measure as objects of the natural sciences. “Have a good Day, God, here are 120 grams per liter Love.” Or: “Here are 120 grams per liter sorrow.” Even if we use in our sentences adjectives to sharpen our message, the content is not measurable – “I’m very sad.” “I love you so much.” How much? 100 meters, 100 pounds? One lightyear?
What does it mean to you – “very sad.” That you cannot stop to weep? Or that you feel a big emptiness in you being disappointed? The answer always comes upon commentaries, questions, and further answers, when somebody else wants to comment your answer.
Are we taken seriously? What we feel is even the way which we feel. Humans are different. Some look at the world by their head, some by their heart. And so, the evidence of evaluation of feelings often fails, in any case, where we are not taken seriously. Heart people and Head people are so different. And feelings are not measurable, but to feel – and to believe.
Believe! Here it is again – this word! Believe! But when I believe my mother, my girlfriend, my husband that I’m accepted, why should there be a problem to believe in God? We know, we can see our mother but God, we cannot see God.
But the content of the saying – I love you – is not to measure even too. In Comics, we can see the thoughts and sayings in forms. Which cause has God given to me for that I could doubt his promises? “I have called you by your name” or “If you are looking for me with all your heart, then I will let me find by you.” And so on.
I can witness that God has let him found by me. I believe in Christ Jesus. I admit that it would be strange if a lay-pastor would not witness his faith. Again, I think that the distance between the reality of human feelings and the witness of God’s existence in the world appears not far afield. And Again: Which answer could I have to doubt God’s promises? Why I could not believe in Christ Jesus?
That Jesus saying about himself: “Greater Love has no one than this: to lay down one’s Life for one’s friend (Joh 15,13).” Did Jesus do this or not? We know the answer. Before I turn to the second question – What does that do for me? – I talk about some remarks in the context of the topics “search” and “prayer”.
Remember: I quoted Jeremiah, Chapter 29, verse 13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Seeking with all your heart is not to be confused with the search of children: “Mam, where is my yellow T-shirt?” It’s in the chest!” “But I have looked for it over all” – “It lays on the second shelf on the left side of the chest.” “But there is no T-shirt!” “I’m sorry that I was not exact enough, it is the third shirt from above. You could open up your eyes instead of mouning.”
No, such a searching is not the topic of Jeremiah. Searching means to read Bibeltexts. Searching means to communicate with others. Searching does not mean to give up after the first prayer or rolling thunder. And this way, it is when we pray. A Prayer is different from communication processes amongst men. I ask you a question and you answer it. By praying, I talk – loud or not – with God. I turn trustfully to God and allege my questions, wishes and appeals.
The answer of God is to feel or to experience, but the moment is independent from our time-management. And – this is sometimes hard to understand – it could be that the answer of God is not the answer that we have expected. I don’t’ want to rationalize disappointments with God, but he is all-knowing, not me. God’s wisdom appears there, where he protects us not to do something bad or without consideration.
I turn now to the second question – What does that do for me? In a materiel, spiritual or psychological meaning – what do want to know, there are so much levels by which there are different answers. I offer you tow levels: The reconciliation and the community with God. And the care of a Life in the Hand of God. Due to the first level, there appears the question: “Do you believe that God is your Creator?” Yes. “Do you believe that you are responsible for your Life?” Yes! “Do you believe that your Lifestyle is pleasant to God.” Sometimes! “Do you believe that a sinner can enter Heaven?” No! “Are you a sinner?” Sometimes!
This wesleyan inquiry-response-cycle should be done further to find out the root of the matter. I believe that by my doings and by my Life, I cannot stand God’s test. I believe that my sins separate me from God. Therefore, I believe that I stand in the need of God’s forgiveness and of Jesus Mercy because of my sins.
Why do you believe in God, what does that do for you? By the death of Christ on the cross, I get community with God again. The one to whom I’m grateful for he gave me my life.
A second level consists of God’s Care. Looking back to my Life, I realize that God was often here to protect me by caring for me. Where doors were closed before me, other doors were open for me. When I lost my first job, I made an advanced education for several months. During my Job, I never had so much time for an advanced education. But I always knew that I should make this education, if I should lose my job. Where something has ended, something new has started. Another example. After four unsuccessful years of looking for a building ground, it was finally the end of my job by that I found a building ground, for what we were looking for.
Did I ever had nothing to eat? No! Why do you believe in God, what does that do for you? I can rely on God. I recognize that he is my companion during my whole Life.
Why do believe in God? Because God promised me and us: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you (Isaiah 54, 10).”