The What and Who of Meandering About

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Confusing the Subject for the Object

When learning to read a language other than your own, it can be easy to get the subject of a sentence confused with the object of the sentence.  This can lead to great confusion, interesting translations and grand misunderstandings!  When one confuses subject with object, the entire meaning of what is said is at risk.

The same can be said about the manner in which we understand God. When we forget that God is Subject - the One who is acting - and not object - the thing that is acted upon - our religion, our worship and our faith tips toward vain idolatry. When we confuse the two, we run the risk of constructing our own tower of Babel or golden calf. Even that which is forged out of our best intentions becomes nothing more than an artificial stairway to heaven or a glistening bovine statue. To the Athenians, the Apostle Paul said, "The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:24-25, NRSV).

Do we have the courage to allow God to truly be the Subject of life?

It is God who acts, it is God who creates, it is God who redeems. May our lives be a response to God's activity in our world. May we courageously join with God in the divine activity in our midst.

The prophet Micah proclaimed, " 'With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?' He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:6-8, NRSV).

May all our actions continuously betray our understanding that God is indeed the Subject.

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