I’ve always thought of my relatioship with God as defined as friend-like. In fact, there’s not a thing I wouldn’t tell God … including my being mad at God about something all the way to how much I love God. For me, my relationship with God is somewhat like that of a friend … God is always there for me (just as a true friend would be), God and I communicate regularly through prayer and the movement of the Holy Spirit (just as true friends do). But when need be, God puts me in my place (just as a true friend would).
So when the sermon I heard this week started out that our understanding of God isn’t simply “friend,” I felt challenged and my interest was peaked! The sermon was actually on God’s transcendence and immanence. Big words, I know! But simply put, I see the transcendent God as the God who is superior and authoritative and might be seen as “barking” orders from on high. Similarly, I see the immanent God as the God who is with us here and now and is seen as simply being our friend and no more. It's only because of Jesus (the bridge) that we are able to have this type of relationship. We haven't experienced anything that God hasn't also ... friendship, happiness, suffering, physical pain, etc.
The clergy giving the sermon stated that we can think of this as a spectrum with transcendence on one far end and immanence on the opposite end. He said that we Christians should have a view of God that is somewhere in the middle. I like and agree with this view of God but had never heard it put quite in these terms!
I walked away from the challenge being convicted that God does give instruction and have expectation for our lives but is also with us on our journey! This is true for all ages! Another way of understanding this view of God (explained the preacher): Can we tell God anything? Yes, but we have to remember to whom we are speaking …