The Pyramid of Faith - Four Ways God Speaks To Us, Part
The Pinnacle of the Pyramid
June 5, 2011
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
Matthew 28: 17-20
17And when they saw him they
worshiped him; but some doubted.
18And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."
In our series on the Pyramid of Faith we have been learning about the ways that God communicates and connects with us. There is one more huge factor that isn’t specifically mentioned, but absolutely deserves to be. The Pinnacle of the Pyramid is the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. It is the foundation of your connection with God.
Twenty years ago I had a wonderful thing happen. I was on a retreat with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking. During this retreat I wanted to speak with Dr. Peale because I had a question for him, one simple question and I wanted his answer. I tried to do this after the sessions, but people kept whisking him away. All of a sudden the retreat was over and I never got to talk with him.
However, all the ministers were invited to go to his church, Marble Collegiate, in New York City for the Sunday service. So I went. During the announcement time, Dr. Peale said, “Oh yes, one more thing, there was a minister at the retreat who was trying to talk to me all weekend and we never got to connect. If you are still here, come see me in my office after this service.”
My jaw dropped on the floor. It couldn’t be me, could it? I thought that there would probably be 21 other ministers standing at his office door. But, I went back and found his office. I knew it was his office because it was protected by two strong gentlemen there in suits and ties standing in front of the door. No one was going to get through that door unless they gave permission! I said, “Excuse me, but, I think I may be the person that Dr. Peale was referring to from the pulpit.”
One of the men went in and verified with Dr. Peale and came out and said that I could go in. I went in, there was Dr. Peale at his desk and he asked what he could do for me.
I said, “Dr. Peale, tell me how you feel about Jesus. Tell me your thoughts about your relationship with Jesus Christ. I have always believed in God, but I long for the kind of joy and faith I see in people for whom Jesus is at the center of their faith.”
“Gladly,” he said. He took his Bible and opened to the last words of the Book of Matthew, the words we read today.
“Look what it says here.”
He pointed to the words, I am with you always.
He said, “That is what I believe. I believe in my heart that Jesus’ spirit and energy is personally with me and that is the foundation of my belief in Him. When I am worried or just want to talk with Him, sometimes I just pull up a chair next to mine, and picture Him in it. I picture Him listening to me and listen for the words of advice and encouragement that He would have for me. That is what I believe, that Jesus is with me always.” Dr. Peale and I knelt down by his desk and had a prayer before we parted. I thanked him very much.
So I offer this up to you my friends. Carry that knowledge with you, won’t you? How does God get in touch with us? Yes, through the Bible, yes, through Tradition, yes through Reason, yes, through Experience. But here is something that is available to you, whether you are rich or poor, young or old, whether you are a scholar or whether you have a minimal education. It does not matter. It is this.
The spirit of Jesus Christ is with you always. His spirit is always available, always there for you, loving and blessing you. Receive it, won’t you? Enjoy His presence. Be lifted up by Him, encouraged by Him.
This is the thought I’d like to leave you with as we conclude this series on the Pyramid of Faith. Yes, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, gave us the “Methodist Quadrilateral”, the four ways God has of communicating ideas to us; yes, it is important that we know about Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience; but how can we leave our discussion without including the most important element of all? This love letter from God? This high point of the Bible? The perfect Morning Star? The most brilliant and perfect expression of God in all of history?
The pyramid has its four visible sides, yes indeed; but picture at the very top, at the pinnacle of the pyramid, the glowing cross of Jesus Christ! Picture it as the reminder of the crowning glory of all creation, the perfect expression of divine love.
And hear now the good news: not only has Jesus taught us about God, He is God with us. He is with us in Church, and He is with each of us personally, as Dr. Peale proclaimed.
He is with you. Always.
He is God’s perfect expression of love.
Receive Him, won’t you?
He is with you – because God loves you.
I do, too.
May you have a blessed week.
© 2011 Anthony J. Godlefski