I was lucky to get a writing assignment from a house that publishes a devotional book for people with intelletual and developemental disabilities. I was asked to use a really helpful tool on Microsoft Word that edits for a certain grade level. This tool is so amazing, because it checks for sentence structure, vocabulary, etc. Though the audience for this devotional is adults, I was advised to use a third grade setting. And something really rewarding happened.
I got to boil down comments on a scripture passage to very elementary thoughts. I kept asking myself why I usually think this relationship between God and us humans is so complicated. Why do I think I always need more information? Like what influenced the author of the book, or what some theologian thinks of this precept or that. I get so deep into thinking I need to know the mind of God (unfathomable) and understand the purpose of our living. I get lost in the history of the church, the personalities that shaped the different translations and proclamations.
I find I can put all I need to know in a few sentences. God loves us more than we can imagine. We struggle and grieve and fail and reach out to God. God is there. In the pain and sorrow. Then, we sing and shout for joy in the midst of the sweet things life brings us, the chances we are given to try again. And God is there. In the first breath of a newborn, the hug of a loved one, the encouragement of those who have lived long and seen much and still greet the new day with a will to live. And the names we call our organizations or churches, the programs and dogma, those may not have much to do with the truth of the matter. God was God before the written word, before the cosmos came into fine focus. Nothing I write will change the nature of God. Even if I get some details wrong, all I really need to know is this simple truth: nothing can separate me from the love of God. It's elementary.