I Peter 3:13-22
As Paul tells the Athenians, we all worship an unknown God, and we are all ignorant in our knowledge and worship of God. That is not God’s fault, and it is not our fault. God is just too different from anything we can know for us to comprehend anything about him. So we must never be smug about our religious beliefs or practices. That doesn’t mean we should not be sincere about our religious beliefs and practices – it just means we should always realize that when we try to make the ineffable effable, we will and do fail.
However, we do have the best and ultimate revelation of God in Jesus. We also have the best and ultimate revelation of humanity in Jesus. (Fully God; Fully Human). So, we can be sure that as long as we are truly modeling Jesus, we are worshiping the true God. Of course, we know that the definition of modeling Jesus has had many variations throughout history, and even know everyone has their own idea about how to do that best. So we should do what we can do get to know the people who knew him best by reading the scriptures with an open mind, heart and life. We can also get to know him through praying with an open mind, heart, and life. We must do all that with the realization that even with a lifetime of scripture reading and prayer, we can never fullly know Jesus. However, we can be assured that God knows us fully, and that God will honor our search by opening up to us as we open up to God.
As Paul quotes the poet: “in him we live and move and have our being”, so must we make sure that we are living, moving, and taking our existence from God, not in our own self-centered desires and whims. Jesus never turned anyone away, but he did warn them not to be smug about their religious beliefs and practices. It is all about Jesus, not about us. Others will seek and find him in ways different from us. That is ok. Our job is to do what we can do and trust God. AMEN