One of the things that has surprised me over the years is the ability of people to argue about God, without ever noticing that they have totally different understandings of what the word “God” means.
It’s fairly clear that the extremist of ISIS must have a profoundly different concept of what God is like than many other people do -- it shows up in the cruelty they are prepared to inflict on others “in God’s name”.
Closer to home, it’s apparent that there’s a world of difference between those who think that God is someone who is intimately concerned about them and lives in the closest possible relationship with them, and those who think that God is somewhere “way out there”, remote and more or less indifferent to what happens.
So it’s refreshing to listen to the words of Isaiah in today’s Old Testament reading, talking about God as someone far beyond whatever we can imagine or understand, unique and all-creating, yet totally involved in the lives of his people.
Lent begins in ten days. Maybe a good challenge for us this Lent would be to re-examine what we believe about God, to let go of small inadequate understandings, and discover the awesome greatness of the God Isaiah and Jesus tell us about.