You might have heard about it – because celebrities like Madonna are into it, at least that’s what they say.
But Moses de Leon was clear that before you can come close to God through Kabbalah, that you have to be very educated in God’s law first.
· So you have to study the Law, the Torah, and probably memorize most of it, the first five books of the Bible.
· You would spend years and years in rabbinical school just on this.
· Then you would study the Talmud, and the Mishnah, and other Jewish writings for several more years.
· Then you could begin to crack open the Zohar, and after several more years you might begin to understand it and grasp it enough to experience God in this mystical way.
You think Madonna’s spent that kind of time on God’s word and the Rabbi’s who’ve written about it? No way.
She’s a leap-frogger, trying to jump to the conclusion without the hard work and discipline first.
· She wants the trophy without the practice, and the coach, and the smelly locker room, and the sore muscles, and the other fun things you gave up to be at practice.
And she will never really get the truths about God that Moses de Leon was trying to communicate.
· True mysticism, true experience of God is the culmination of a long road of investment in all the imperfect things that are not God.
· There’s no real shortcut.
But then there’s the fundamentalist on the other side
They struggle with the Bible being so full of imperfect people and contradictory teachings and stories about historical events that aren’t very historical, and it all makes them very anxious and scared.
They want to know what it says, that it’s hard and fast, and that’s it, and we’re done.
But the only thing that’s totally certain, that never changes, that has no errors or contradictions, that’s totally perfect, is God.
· And The Bible is not God, no matter how much God inspired it.
And it doesn’t need to be.
And why is that so hard to believe? Why do we need to have the stars around the center be perfect and unchanging for us to experience the center that is?
· Why can’t we just accept that there are no perfect words to describe a God who is so awesome and wonderful – that our words are so limited and that they can never paint a full picture – and that, compared to God’s awesomeness, they’re really full of flaws?
When we grow up as kids, I know that we tend to take the Bible stories literally. It’s how our brains are wired. We take things concretely. We believe there literally was an Adam and Eve, that David really did kill his tens of thousands (it was never that many), and on and on.
· And then we get older and we start asking questions about it, and they’re usually pretty good, because we start seeing that the Bible is not a science book, but a collection of books by different people who don’t always care about the historical details, and who don’t always see eye-to-eye.
And at that point, you can become disillusioned, and say “well, it’s not literal, so it must be false”. Or, you could have some big faith crisis, where you feel like all you knew about God is being shattered.
· And in that moment, when it all falls apart, when it all starts to get questioned, it’s dark. Totally dark. Nothing is certain. Nothing is true. God doesn’t feel close to you at all. Nothing makes sense.
· You’re staring into the abyss, as they say.
And when that happens, and you do, embrace it. Because it’s there, when its all crumbled, that you are most open to seeing God. Go into the darkness and the abyss, and find there the God that is so much bigger than the things that point to him.
Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea.”
The Lord is my rock.
Not the book, not the church, not the music – God.
My strength is in him, and it cannot be shaken, no matter how much swirling around me there is.
It may be hard to describe God, once you’ve been to the darkness, but it is realer than real, and truer than true, and so powerful that nothing or no one can shake it.
It’s the love you feel that you can never put words to, but you know is totally real.
It’s the finding of such pure joy that all you can do is what Moses used to do after being in the dark cloud on the mountain – he’d glow.
It’s something so big and beyond anything we can see, and I invite you into it –on the journey through the stars of imperfect signs and imperfect people and imperfect knowledge that will point us to the perfect God in the center of all.