Theology is Child's Play
I love theology.
Because God has loved me in Christ. And because he first loved me, I also love him (albeit in a much smaller way that is always and only just a faint reflection of the love he has for me).
When you love someone, you want to know as much as you can about that person.
I am perfectly known and loved by the sovereign, all powerful Creator of the universe.
And so, being perfectly known, I want to know as much as I can about God.
This is why I love theology.
People often pit theology against experience, or experience against theology.
But how can I raise my hands in worship and revel in the experience of his love shed abroad in my heart, and not love theology?
And, conversely, how can I love theology and not then raise my hands in worship and revel in the experience of God's love in my heart?
These two things are not mutually exclusive - they are mutually dependent.
Worship is theology.
Theology is worship.
Yes, I love theology (and at this point a certain scene in Napoleon Dynamite comes to mind...).
Yes, I love theology... but, as a public theologian (i.e. "pastor") in a church body that loves theology, I must remember that theology - even the best theology - is child's play.
Yes. Child's play.
Does this mean theology is not important?
Few things are more important than solid theology. The only thing more important than theology is love. And it just so happens that you can't have love without good theology, because theology is always a commentary on the love of God incarnate - Jesus Christ.
But... theology is still child's play.
What I mean is this: There will be a day when even the best theology, the best confessions, the most worshipful and God-honoring statements, the most precise and careful ways of speaking about God will all fade into distant memory.
Words will give way to sight.
Face to face will put to flight even our best descriptions of the indescribable.
The Athanasian Creed will look like the tattered remains of a childhood blanket when we bow in unhindered worship to the unity in Trinity, and Trinity in unity.
Luther's Small Catechism will be a forgotten trinket when we "live under him in his kingdom and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness."
Even the pages of Scripture we now treasure so dearly will be traded in for the enthralling vision of the Word made flesh.
That excellent theologian Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 13:
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Come, Lord Jesus!
But until then, we do theology. And even though it's just child's play, let's strive to do it well.
Pastor John Rasmussen - Our Savior Lutheran Church - South Windsor, CT