Under the Sweet Stars(3) Expanding our Vision of God Through Names
The Bible is filled with hundreds of metaphors for God, yet in most church services, we hone in on just a few: Lord, King, Shepherd.
One way we can expand our vision of God is by exploring and using a wider range of names, images, and metaphors.
When we lived in England, we loved to camp as a family in the Great Langdale Valley in the Lake District. Our first time camping there, as we arrived in the evening and pitched our tent, the surrounding mountains glowed golden in the setting sun. When we were finished, I sat while Adam and Jo ran and played, mesmerized by the mountains around us, anticipating the walks we would be taking the next day.
In the morning however, when I unzipped the tent and crawled out, there were no mountains to be seen. Thick mist had descended into the valley, leaving no hint or trace of the vast landscape surrounding us. Almost as if the mountains had never existed at all. It was somehow comforting to sit, knowing they were out there, even though I couldn’t see them.
I said, “God, you are a lot like those mountains. Some days, I feel you. I understand you. I know you. Other days, you are hidden. I can’t see you at all. You are shrouded in mist. It’s almost as if you weren’t ever there at all. But even so, you are.” That mountain is an image of God for me.
Another way our vision of God expands is by being in community, as we share our experiences, images, and names for God with one another. On one day, I might experience God as unknowable, hidden, perhaps even non-existent. But you might be experiencing God as clearly and comfortingly as golden light on a hillside. As we share our images of God with one another, as we give voice to the moments of spiritual consolation and desolation we move through, our vision of God widens. It expands. Our quest to know God is richly shared in community.
What images and metaphors of God have been meaningful for you?
Deep peace and blessing,
Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor, Church at Southpoint
Celebrating Faithfulness, at the close of 2022: With great gratitude, wonder and delight, it’s a joy to tell you that by year end in December, our donations were at 106% of what was pledged for 2022. This means we have the funds to hire a half-time person to work with Pastor Anne, starting in May! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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Under the Sweet Stars: Expanding our image of God
Anne Baxter Smith
New to Southpoint?
At Southpoint, it all begins with God’s love. Just as a plant grows, it receives sunshine, so we grow as we receive God’s love. At Southpoint, we are growing in our capacity to love God, ourselves, one another, and creation.
We seek to be a community of grace that is intentional yet organic, spacious yet authentic, grace-filled yet accountable. * We are fully welcoming. *
We encourage relationships rather than run programs, yet we recognize the importance of intentionality and structure as we nurture life together.
As a community, we seek to put our love in action. We value helping out on Sunday mornings, sharing food, and showing up in hard times. We keep our church life simple so folk have time to build relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. We encourage folk to serve in tangible ways within the wider community. We rent space rather than own a building, allowing us to do more with less, supporting missions at home and abroad.
Curious to know more?
These six slides express what motivates our ministry (best viewed on a monitor). Read Pastor Anne Baxter Smith’s bio here. Our website is southpoint.ca.
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