open the fist

This morning I spoke about lent being an opportunity to give up our old images of God and allow God to show us more of the real him. I guess I started to think about this last year during Lent while reading Maggi Dawn’s Giving It Up and was challenged about this again after recently reading these words of Bishop Tom Wright: ‘We need God to show us where our images of God have become too harsh, too weak, too small, too fragile, too stern.’

As I reflect over a number of conversations I have had with quite a few people over the last couple of years it strikes me that there are a lot of people with an incredibly harsh view of God. They have an image that God hates them because of their lifestyle, or because they are not good enough. There are others I have chatted with who try to box God and protect him, worried about discussing their faith too much in case all their beliefs come crumbling down – personally I see no point in worshipping a God who you feel you need to protect!
Imagine holding something there that you wish to protect, something precious, something that you do not wish to be harmed. Look at your fist. What you have in there is safe and secure. No one can harm it or steal it. No one can take it from you. It is safe and you know that.
But …. look at your fist again and ask yourself a question – how can I receive anything new? How can God add to my understanding? How can God show me more of who he is?
A fist protects and holds, but it can’t receive.
You need an open hand to receive
Why not open your fist … now you can receive – but the risk in opening your hand is that you can lose what you have tightly held grasped safely in there for a while, maybe even years.
I wonder if Lent is a time to open our hands. 
To give up our false images of God.
I think it’s a tough task, but this Lent I am making time to allow God to show me what false images or God I have and then I’m going to try to let them go

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