Who Is God?

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This Sunday evening, we will be doing our livestream on this question. I am looking forward to it. I wanted to share a few preliminary thoughts on this, as unworthy as I am to do so.

In August of 1993, my father passed away. I had completed my second year at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. I was at the funeral home for visitation wearing my cassock. A four-year-old child, who was a family friend, approached me and asked, “Are you God?” I was startled by the question. I briefly mumbled “no.” Yet what was it that this child saw in me that caused him to ask that question? It wouldn’t surprise me if parents have been asked that question from their own children as they grow up. The wonderful thing about this brief exchange with this boy was that even at four years old he was dealing with the question of “Who is God?” To answer this, we can go the gospel of John as a start.

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. (John 14:5-9)

And finally, from Colossians 1:15: He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God.”

From these verses we learn that we come to know God, who cannot be seen, by fixing our gaze on Jesus Christ, who has been seen.  In Christ is revealed the image of the invisible God. This becomes reality at the feast of Theophany, where we sing in the Festal Troparion:

“When You O Lord were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father bore witness to You, calling You His Beloved Son, and the Spirit in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of your Word.”

Up until the baptism of our Lord, the question, “Who is God?” was a mystery and not clearly revealed. This changed with our Lord’s baptism. It was in the essence and nature of the Son to reveal God the Father to this world and the Holy Spirit. But all of us, like the four-year-old boy, seek to know the answer to the question “Who is God?” I think this question becomes a never-ending thirst given to us at our own baptism into Christ. This is what drives us to come to know the “Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

But that question and the drive to know needs to be nurtured and cultivated through our sacramental life in the Church, through our life at home as an icon of the little church, seeking to live by the Beatitudes of our Lord in Matthew 5:1-12, and seeking to acquire the gifts of the Holy Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-24. As we live the spiritual life and by grace acquire these fruits of the Spirit, this reveals the invisible God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. By doing so, many will in time come to terms with the question, “Who is God?” See you this Sunday evening.

The blessing of the Lord be upon you,

Archbishop Paul

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