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Blessed be God forever

 

From the least to the greatest. This is the breadth of our understanding of God. It is brought out in the beautiful psalm that the Church selects for our liturgy today.

In Hong Kong, we can sometimes feel helpless and lost among the millions of people. Who cares about us? Who is interested in us?

Schoolchildren are just one among hundreds or even thousands in our schools, and teachers can seem so remote. When they graduate it can be worse. At university, the teachers are no longer teachers but lecturers. They do not have a responsibility for individual personal care.

In the corridors of learning door after door is locked and the times of professors’ availability are just a few hours or even minutes a week. After graduation they join the hordes on the MTR station.

But God is interested in us uniquely and individually. The psalm tells us that God is interested in powerless individuals and small groups living as exiles and refugees. God is interested in the single individual, who is broken-hearted, perhaps by grief, a lost love or failure. God binds up individual wounds.

And when God comes among us as Jesus, he is interested in just one person who has a fever, or a small handful of people in the town who are sick. A crowd in the town of Capernaum would only be a few people, but not too small for our God. What Jesus did is a sign of a profoundly personal relationship.

At the same time, God is great, almighty and immeasurable. We get lost in words full of superlatives, like eternal, omnipotent and infinite. Yet none of these is adequate to describe God, who is the creator of the whole cosmos and whose wisdom outranges our small knowledge.

The light from stars millions of light years away is still reaching us, yet God’s love reaches beyond the stars. None of the words that measure time or space or power is sufficient.

It can be hard for Christians to hold both of these facts together. Our faith is not either individual or infinite. Our faith includes and embraces a God who holds each individual gently in the palm of his hand and, at the same time, is beyond our universe.

Our faith includes both of these astonishing facts about God. If we neglect one of these truths, we neglect something important about God. If we over emphasise one of these truths, without including the other, our faith is distorted. 

This is problem area for individuals. Sometimes we over emphasise one or another attribute of God. We over emphasise God’s greatness, or God’s justice, or God’s power.

We over emphasise God’s mercy, God’s close touch, God’s creativity or some other attribute. Part of belonging to our Church is protection from exaggeration, as mother Church seeks to find the balance and share it with us in every age, in every place.

The fact that God cannot be measured or contained is supportive for us. God cannot be contained by our words and cannot be contained by our expectations.  As we go about our daily work and toil with millions of others in the high-rise buildings, we know that our God is universal and yet knows us individually.

Our God is beyond the limits of time, yet is attentive to us at every moment. We may be insignificant in the eyes of the world, but we are significant to God. We may be powerless in the eyes of the world, but our God empowers us. We may be the least in our families, but with our God, we are the greatest! Blessed be God forever!