Faith Matters: Share God’s umbrella

  • The Rev. Dr. Megan Leary of the Central Congregational Church, U.C.C., in Orange. Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

  • The Central Congregational Church in Orange. Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

  • The Rev. Dr. Megan Leary of the Central Congregational Church, U.C.C., in Orange. Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

Friday, June 08, 2018

(Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email religion@recorder.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 265.)

Imagine for a moment that you are walking on the street somewhere when the skies open and the rain just starts pouring down. What would you do? Chances are, you would duck into doorway, hoping to find a dry place to wait out the downpour. Or maybe you would start walking a bit faster, trying to get to your destination a bit quicker. Maybe you would just hunch up your shoulders and keep walking, figuring rain happens.

My guess is that most of us would do any number of things to avoid the rain, but how many of us would run up alongside the nearest person with an umbrella and just walk alongside them, sharing their small area of dryness? Most of us would probably not join a stranger under their umbrella.

Most of us have probably not given this much thought; however, there is a certain level of intimacy that is created when we share an umbrella. We must get our steps and strides in synch and the person holding the umbrella must get the angle just right. If either person is off just a bit, one usually gets hit in the head with the umbrella, or the rain drips off the sides and right onto someone’s nose, or half of their body is out in the rain. Trying to share an umbrella with someone we know can be awkward and difficult; trying to share an umbrella with a stranger could be disastrous!

I have had conversations with so many people who struggle with their belief in God because God feels too far off, too unattainable. Yet, the book of Acts talks about a God in whom we live and move and have our being. These two views of God hold very different levels of intimacy. The first speaks of an unknown God; the other speaks of a God with whom we are so familiar that we do everything through that God — breathing, moving, being. That is quite a difference! On the one hand we have a God with no name, no identity, no sense of who or what God is. On the other hand, we have a God who created everything, and who loves every creature in that creation. A God who breathed life into us and through whom we continue to live.

As I consider these two different ways we approach God — one as an unknown God and one as the source of life itself — I have come to believe that trying to serve an unknown God is very much like trying to walk under an umbrella with a stranger. Sure, it can be done! But it is awkward. It is difficult. It most likely leaves us with drops of water on our noses and maybe even bonked on the head with the pole for the umbrella. Trying to serve an unknown God will probably leave us quite discombobulated and tied up in knots!

You see, God created us to be in relationship with us. God is love. To know God is to know love. Trying to serve an unknown God means refusing to live and move and be in that love.

As we strive to walk with God, God wants very much to be the one in whom we live and breathe and have our being. In other words, God wants to be the known, our best friend, our reason for living, the one who gives us our very breath. God invites us under the umbrella, to walk side by side. I hope you will accept the invitation and take a walk with God!

About Central Congregational Church of Orange

Rev. Megan invites you to the Central Congregational Church of Orange, at 93 South Main St. We are a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC). Our Sunday morning worship, which begins at 10:15 a.m., is mostly traditional with Scripture, prayer, organ and choir, and is very much “come as you are!”

Our “Cellar Closet” thrift shop is open Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon, September through May, and we host various fundraisers and fellowship events throughout the year. During the summer, we have a wide variety of special music during our worship service including Friendly Town Sound, Surround Sound, soloists, instrumental music and more. For more information, please call 978-544-6895, email Revmegan@aol.com and like us on Facebook.