When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, ’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:34-40
What does it mean for us to love God “with all our minds?” The older I get, the more I wonder how to faithfully answer this question. Does it mean that I have to believe in creationism or evolution? Does it mean that I have to read scripture literally or more metaphorically? Am I allowed to question the core tenets of the Christian faith, or will God punish me if I wrestle with these matters because my faith is feeble?
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) famously remarked, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” I love this quote because it reminds me that my mind wishes to ask these important questions is a mind gifted to me by the same God with whom I sometimes wrestle. Since our God wishes to be in relationship with us, our God welcomes our questions. Furthermore, if God is God, then God is powerful enough to withstand even our most ardent, persistent questioning, and if this God is the compassionate God we have seen revealed in Jesus of Nazareth, then we can trust that our wrestling with God can be a means by which we actually grow in our faith.
Our first three sermons of 2020 will explore the relationship between faith and reason. We will examine the topics of creationism versus evolution, the story of Noah and the ark, and finally, the scripture above. It is my prayer that we can use this time to deepen our understanding of what it means to approach the Christian faith as thinking people, so that we may truly love God “with all our minds.” Join us.
Grace and peace,