‘Were you wearing a ‘Goofy’ shirt yesterday?” he asked. I told him I was and asked him why he wanted to know. He replied, “My son said he met God yesterday and he was wearing a “Goofy” shirt. I laughed. So did he. I told him that it wasn’t the first time that child had mistaken me for God as I’ve gotten older.
I think a lot of parents tell their children that they are going to church to meet God. It’s the truth after all. We come to worship on Sunday. We hope that we will have an encounter with God that will be life-affirming. We come looking for God’s blessing as we prepare for another week in the world outside.
So what are our children to think when they see an older man with white hair, who is nice to them and greets them with a smile? We all have an image of God in mind but we never expect God to actually show up. Not in person anyway. So we don’t look for him. Our children, on the other hand, believe that if they look for God, they will actually find him.
The prophet Isaiah says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; Call on him when he is near.” It wasn’t a suggestion. Isaiah took it as a command. God wants us to look for him. He wants us to enter his presence. He wants to walk with us through life. In order for that to happen you have to recognize him when you see him.
I like the story about a little boy who was busy painting a picture. His teacher saw it and asked him what he was making. The boy said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” “That’s nice,” the teacher said, “but nobody has ever seen God.” Without missing a beat the boy responded, “That’s because I haven’t finished my picture yet!”
I have to confess that I often look a lot more like Goofy than God. I stick my foot in my mouth. I say silly things. I miss opportunities to do good. I have messed up important relationships. I get caught up in my own worries and fears and let them paralyze me. I thank God that he’s not finished with me yet. I’m still becoming that person that was created in his image.
That’s the beauty of God’s grace. He takes broken, hurting people and puts us back together again. He fills our lives with love and gives us a chance to start over ... again and again ... until we begin to look like him. Praise God. That’s not goofy. It is God’s plan. We are supposed to look like him. He’s our Father, after all.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.