Do we `ignorantly worship'?

``AS I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.'' 1 So said the Apostle Paul. Sometimes we are tempted to think that the God we worship is an unknown God, a mysterious, mystifying deity, whom we attempt to obey through blind faith. Paul still challenges us centuries later by saying, ``Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.'' Paul knew God firsthand because the Christ, the divine influence expressed by Jesus, was active in his life. Also, he was obedient to the call to serve his Lord. Are we allowing God to be active in our lives? Do we listen for God's thoughts when we pray, or do we just make our needs and requests known and then go our own way, not heeding His direction? If we did this with a friend, we might be considered rude. Humility is important if we are to learn about God and discern His direction; if we are to learn more about our true selfhood as the very image of His being. Our daughter is a communications major in college. My husband is a counselor. Between them I am learning something about communication. I'm learning about the need for patient listening, for trying to hear and understand what another is saying and from what point of view he or she is speaking--and the need for showing that we have understood by giving an appropriate response. The way to get to know another is to talk with him, wait for his response, really listen. The way for us to know God better is to commune with Him in prayer, patiently cultivating a feeling of His presence, and listening for the pure intuitions that continuously emanate from the divine source of all good. Jesus called God ``Father.'' He said God is our Father too. A father is not a mysterious unknown. A father is one who shelters, guides, protects, supplies, loves, cherishes. All this God does, and m ore. He speaks to us in our prayerful listening, in the inspiration, insights, and helpful thoughts that come to us. His response can be felt in a flow of love in our hearts--a love that is not exclusive but embraces all mankind, a love that springs from divine Love itself. There's no limit to the blessings for ourselves and humanity that can result from getting to know better our heavenly Parent, the source of our being. From my study of Christian Science I realize I really don't need to be content with ignorance of God. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping-stone to faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is Life eternal.'' 2 Sometimes ignorance of God comes from lack of information. Sometimes it is a form of laziness. I am learning I have to be willing to make the effort to know God better, to pray for understanding, to listen for His response, and to carry that inspiration into my daily life. This does not replace the need to learn more about Him through study of the Bible and in following the example of our Master, Christ Jesus. But nothing can take the place of getting to know our heavenly Father through daily, quiet co mmunion with Him. 1 Acts 17:23. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. vii.

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