Give Me A Clue

Ever played charades? “Two words.” Act out the first word or a phrase to raucous shouts, laughter at the antics, wild guesses, and then: “Midnight Cowboy!” “Yes!” Perhaps you enjoy murder mysteries? Agatha Christie, The Hardy Boys, Vera, Endeavour, Morse, Silent Witness, John Le Carré . Looking for clues to find the solution.

Probably the greatest mystery that has confronted humanity through every generation is what many have pondered, avoided, confronted, discovered, or fled from. “Is there a God?”

Some give up quickly and declare there is nothing beyond this life. Even posing the question evokes a quick sidestep, change of subject, or perhaps an awkward revulsion at the prospect. Evidence is given by pointing to the suffering of humanity, violence, corruption, hypocrisy by those who profess to believe, and the subjective admission of never being spiritual or interested ‘in that kind of thing’.

Others look at the universe, nature, and a sense of incompleteness within themselves and conclude that ‘there must be something behind all this’. God in nature. God can be whatever you believe as all paths lead to the same conclusion. All religions are equal and provide a relatively satisfactory answer in the context of culture, history, and tradition. Everyone believing whatever, many paths, no questions asked.

Attempting to find an answer to the question, ‘Does God Exist?’ (another variation) is virtually impossible looking for clues from the ground up. Digging in the earth for evidence of heaven. Rather akin to archaeology. Looking through broken and polluted material in the stuff of the earth to indicate the existence of the divine and eternal. It’s not entirely futile but the evidence yielded is insufficient, and even flimsy in terms of convincing.

Yes, there are those who have lived life in a manner that has been sacrificial and generous, powerful oratory, and noble deeds. All inspired by their faith in God and a fervent desire to change the world for the better. But even the best on earth, when examined up close and personal tend to brown at the edges, have black marks, imperfections, and flaws in the closet. Which adds fuel for the cynic, disillusion for the idealist, and proof for the one intent on refuting the question as soon as it is asked.

The answer to this eternal vexing question turns on the existence of God. If we begin with the premise that we can find him one way or the other by using our intellect as a starting point to collate proof we will invariably fail. For the god we seek to prove will probably look like us and sound like us and be incapable of acting in any manner that is beyond our comprehension or understanding. Rather similar to the gods of the Greeks who were embraced because they were so delightfully human.

However, if God exists independent of what we think or even know, that’s an entirely different matter. Pressing even further, if God exists and desires to be known, how would he communicate in a manner that would enable us to comprehend him? For that revelation to take place he would have to speak our language, reveal himself within the paradigm of human existence, be like us but not like us, and somehow help us understand why his existence matters at all. As a start he has given us a book and a person. A book written by over sixty authors over 1500 years describing human history and the story of God – enough to get started. And a person in Jesus where the book comes to life and lives among us. Evidence that surely demands a verdict?

That is what this week leading up to Easter is all about. The God out there revealing himself in human form with an identity and a name at a particular time in history. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus contain multiple clues, descriptions, teachings, and evidence to the question of God and his existence. Like a giant gravitational pull Jesus tugs into his orbit the questions of life that inevitably rise in our spirits like bubbles of air floating to the watery surface of our consciousness. Questions of purpose, meaning, justice, truth, identity, good and evil, hope, grace, forgiveness, and life after death. Questions seeking answers that transcend vague abstractions, sentimental universalism, or settling for simplistic line drawings devoid of substance.

The person of Jesus cannot be hijacked and incorporated for our political preferences, squeezed into our worldviews, or speak things we want him to say as if he were a puppet on a ventriloquist’s knee. In fact while people throughout the ages, just like us, have mouthed the question of God’s existence, we have invariably balked at the answer God gave in his Son. We have crucified him on the Cross of public opinion, the status quo, the fear of restricting our freedoms and rights, and on and on. We repeatedly crucify our ideas about God that have never been true to the revelation of Jesus, because we have imposed those distorted perceptions upon the very idea of him. Our untested prejudices enable us to feel justified, even those of us who profess to believe can be found guilty.

Good Friday is where all these distorted and misguided crucifixions are piled up in a bloody mess of persecution, hostile condemnation, and brutal rejection. Humanity has never done well with being challenged when it comes to values, leadership, sacrifice, yielding power, serving others, renouncing greed, and passionately advocating for unadulterated truth. We love words as long as they are not directed at us or applied like a searchlight to our motives, character, and actions. We don’t want to be accountable, be wrong, called sinful and rebellious, be found wanting. That’s our problem, a clue perhaps.

Easter Sunday is a revolutionary act of defiance by a God who refuses to be subject to broken, blind, and fickle human thinking and reasoning. The resurrection of Jesus opens the door to life after death, reveals God’s grace and love no matter what we have done, and provides evidence of his existence that rises way beyond our ability to explain or understand. It’s a miracle, defies logic, leaves us gasping – as any reality of God would.

The most magnificent clue in the person of Jesus, through whose life all these glimpses are gifted to us, is the love of God for his creation and for us his people. That when eventually we own up to our brazen acts, our arrogant self assurance, and our greedy preoccupation with ourselves. Just when we see the light and think it too late as the weight of regret and judgement presses down. His hand reaches out, his blood on the Cross speaks of our judgement and death, and his rising again leaving an empty tomb offers another beginning possible for all who ask. Life on earth with God’s existence evident in spirits changed, relationships transformed, humility and hope marking us as those who believe.

When we look for the clues that God has given to answer the question of his existence then we can expect to find the answer and hear his resounding ‘Yes!’ highlighted with love and joy, purpose and hope, and a peace that passes understanding. Therein lies the meaning of Easter, and every other day of the year.

May new revelations of Him, God, Jesus, be ours this week. And if you don’t have a clue, now you know where to find some.

John Cox

Christian Author

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