Not God Above but Within
Dear old and new friends,
Recently I came across this quote of an unidentified writer, “God made humans because God loves stories”…and I had to smile as one who also does. When I reflected on my own life, my loving parents as my pre-college religious teachers, the schooling of sharing with brothers and sister and my entire life as a series of adventures, I again smiled at the thought of how God must love my story. Take a few minutes to also reflect on God enjoying your life story with its cast of colorful characters and events.
My smile however turned into a frown when I thought of others who had painful and hard lives. What enjoyment could an all-loving God find in tragic life stories of those who have lost everything when tornadoes or hurricanes wiped away their homes? How could my affectionately caring God find pleasure in the life stories of those who came from dysfunctional, alcoholic families or were victims of sexual or physical abuse as did some men that I met as a prison chaplain?
Christianity’s belief in the Incarnation of Jesus is the story of God assuming not only all the humanness of Jesus, but that of all of us humans. This core faith/belief also implies that God was so in love with humanity as to become a living participant in everyone’s human story! And beyond that to become a living partaker in the Big Story of humanity. Not only in its artistic creations and heroic service to the needy but also the darkness of violence, natural disasters, sexual abuses, war’s atrocities and the plagues of deadly diseases. Those who reject as ridiculous such a victimized God as a theological impossibility do not comprehend the immensity of the bottomless depth of Divine Love and its compelling passion for intimate union with each one of us.
Today as spring’s new life buds forth let your spirituality also experience a new spring growth in the mystique of God, not in heaven but within you! For this new spiritual awareness to grow requires you practice daily an awareness of God’s living, personal presence within you. Practice remembering your God is a daily participant sharing your uniquely human story; tasting the ecstatic delights in your loving as well as suffering your tear-soaked sorrows in life’s conflicts.
Especially be mindful of the Divine Presence within times of crisis which today appears in our religion, politics and international affairs. A crisis can signal two things—a rapidly worsening situation that if not dealt leads to disaster. So if any institution or person is rigidly opposed to change and newness, then usually a crisis logically leads to an ultimate end in death. However, a person who is open, even welcoming of change, will experience the catastrophe as the timely death of the old structure that signals the evolutionary birth of a new one.
Historically we live in an earthquake crisis of deadly implications in our environment, global politics and even our religion. In this epic crisis, be open-minded and maintain an ecological stance of welcoming sweeping change as your “God within” proclaims with eternal enjoyment, “Behold I make all things new!” (Rev.5; 21)