Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.
My wife and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary during the last days of our 14-day self-isolation. We not only survived 24-hours a day with just the two of us, but surprised ourselves with things we learnt about each other, even after so many years. I’m not unique in unconsciously presuming I know a person, only to be surprised by things I’ve never seen or known before.
We do the same with God of course. All of us, religious and nonreligious, Christian and non-Christian, are predisposed to presuming we know what God is like; or as the case may be, that God does not exist at all.
And questions like, “What sort of God would allow a pandemic, bushfires, drought or ________?” (fill in the blank) tell us a lot about our preconceived ideas of who or what God is.
Easter challenges all our preconceptions. If Jesus is God, as Christians believe, then God is no superhero in the ilk of Superman or Marvel characters. God is something altogether different. God is not only acquainted with our questions, suffering, and fears, but God is at work, even alive within them.
That Jesus is God in human flesh is not what we expected, or wanted, God to be. The authorities of his day, whether religious, military or government, were so offended, that they had him executed ¾ only to be thwarted by the proclamation of his resurrection.
Just like recent times with my wife, whatever our knowledge about God, forced isolation gives believers and nonbelievers alike, the time, space and moment to become aware of our preconceptions and encounter, perhaps for the first time, the God who is beyond them all.