How Great is Our God?

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God 

from “How Great is Our God” by Chris Tomlin

As I listened to a grade-school aged girl with special needs sing those words tonight, I realized that they are perfectly true.

God is great.  His greatness is not seen in our greatness, or goodness, or adequacy.  His greatness is seen in that he loves us and makes us part of his family even though we are not great, or even particularly good, or adequate for much of what would seem to be the stuff of being in God’s family.  This is true of even the most impressive and important of human specimens.  Which means God’s expansive love is also the best possible hope for those of us who are clearly not the archetype; and, the farther away from the “perfect person” that God is still willing to reach to invite people into his family, then the more amazing is his grace.

So, as I was listening to this girl who is just a little bit off in the eyes of the world, I realized that her singing, and my singing, and our singing together (and understand that this gathering of disabled persons got a little bit chaotic, perhaps especially in our praise) in fact shows the world how great our God is: he’s so great, he accepts us.

And may the world look at me, and at my sons, and at countless others who aren’t easy to see, and may they see that God loves us, and that we love him, because he has shown us who he is, and promised never to leave us or forsake us, and we are living lives of endurance and victory even in our brokenness.  Because our God is great.

And if your God doesn’t quite have enough extra energy for the physically, mentally and emotionally broken, how great is he, anyway?  And how can you be sure that he’ll still be willing to be “your God” if everything falls apart?

The reality is that the greatness of God, in the human realm, is most evident and undeniable when the least of these are part of the party – whether they are the homeless, the poor, the smelly, the noisy, the unable to control their bladders and bowels, the crazy, or any other unpleasant label you might be able to slap on them.  And if your worship party, your congregational life, doesn’t have enough room for the lowest and the losers, how do you know your invitation to the party is permanent?

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