The above picture is the Rathaus. I know that doesn't sound like a place you'd want to hang out but auf deutsch (in German) it's city hall. It is without a doubt my favorite building in Vienna. When I look at it I see beauty...elegance...it literally puts me in awe. I realize that someone designed it and that many people spent time building it. Tour guides have to be very observant.
I'm reading a book right now called The Velvet Elvis by a guy named Rob Bell. You should all read this book. I don't agree with everything in it, but it has been a breath of fresh air in terms of "Christian" books. One of the things he talks about is the kavod of God. Kavod in Hebrew means glory but actually denotes weight or significance. Isaiah says, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty. The Earth is filled with His glory."
We can see the glory of the Lord all around us. David said, "The Earth is the Lord's and everything in it." And later he prayed, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence."
Rob Bell points out in his book that some people think missions is "taking God somewhere." While I somewhat see what people are saying, if we have truly understood the scriptures we realize that God is all around us. Not in some pantheistic way, but to quote Steven Curtis Chapman, the "fingerprints of God" are all around us. And not just for us believers, but unbelievers as well. The Earth is literally FILLED with His glory. Look for it.
Paul understood this. He brought the truth and the Word of God, but he also pointed out everyday things. He was a tour guide. If you read Acts 17, Paul observes that the Athenians had many gods they worshipped and thanked for all of the good things in their lives. Paul tells them that there is one God and He is the source of all of these things. He even goes on to quote one of their poets in sharing the truth with them. Paul meets the Athenians where they are and speaks to them in a way they can relate to. He infuses all of the life experience and practice of their reality with meaning by linking it to God, the most real thing.
I'm learning that I'm not taking God anywhere. He's really big and doesn't need a ride from me. He is already intimately involved in what is going on in the lives of my kids. In Colossians it says that in Christ all things hold together. In a sense, anything we do or experience involves God's active presence.
As Christians maybe we need to stop trying to "take" God and start to "observe" what God is already doing. In Romans it talks about all people having a knowledge of God from what has been made. Let's start relating to people from the good things God has placed in their lives. The things that surround them that they can't deny. Let's speak the truth to them in love and make ourselves available to God for His use in other people's lives.
So this weekend I was a tour guide. I think I'll keep trying to be one the rest of this year.