The “Current” of Divine Activity

On the plane ride to New York, I started reading Rowan Williams’ Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief, which had been recommenced to me by the assistant rector at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

The title of the book reflects Williams’ fundamental idea that “Christian belief is really about knowing who and what to trust.” While there are some who think being Christian means accepting a checklist of beliefs, Williams believes that “Christianity asks you to trust the God it talks about before it asks you to sign up to a complete system.”

Early on in the book, in talking about what it means to say that God is the “maker of heaven and earth,” Williams offers what I think is a wonderful image. Rejecting the image of God as a watchmaker who got things started and then sits back and lets it “run,” Williams thinks we better understand how God is in the world by thinking about an electric light burning. He writes

The electric current causes the light to shine, but that doesn’t mean that the electric power is something that was around only at the moment you put the switch on, so that the light itself is a rather distant result. On the contrary, the light is shining here and now because the electric current is flowing here and now. In the same way, it is the “current” of divine activity that is here and now making us real.

This is a good image to sit with. It reminds us that “within every circumstance, every object, every person, God’s action is going on.” It reminds us that we can never be separated without God, indeed, that nothing can be.


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