God’s Handwriting – Teaching

Our quote this week reminds us that whenever we see something beautiful, we see God.

Quote

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing something beautiful,
for beauty is God’s handwriting.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thoughts

In part 5 of the Alternatives series, we’re going to take a look at Worship.

What does worship mean? Where and when do we worship? And, most importantly, why do we worship?

What does worship mean?

The dictionary defines worship as:

  • reverent honor paid to God
  • adoring reverence or regard
  • to feel an adoring reverence or regard

The third is, to me, most important. Mr. Fischer says, “In the true worship experience, feeling is the essence. What you (we) feel becomes part of you (us); it builds into your (our) nature. It is reflected in your (our) life (lives). It becomes a quality of your (our) character. It is the light that shines through you (us).

Where, When and Why?

Typically, when we think of worship, we think of going to church. And, typically in our culture, we go on Sunday. But why? Why do we worship, and why do we equate worship with going to church?

Sometimes, we go to church because “we’re supposed to.” Even when we don’t feel like going, we go anyway. Some of you may have attended church in the past, not so much because you wanted to be there, but because you felt a sense of obligation. And, some have been taught that not to attend church every Sunday is a sin. Unfortunately, when we attend out of a sense of obligation, we rarely have a spiritual experience. In larger congregations or worship gatherings, it’s not uncommon to see people falling asleep.

Sometimes, we go to be an example to others. Parents will often go, not so much because they felt like attending, but because it sets a “good example” for the children. And, some people attend out of duress – their parents “make” them go. Some children attend because their parents insist that they attend, even when the parents themselves don’t. And, some attend due to the insistence of a loved one. However, like attending out of a sense of obligation, this type of attendance rarely leads to a positive spiritual experience either.

Still others attend just to be with other people. Many single folks, especially seniors, attend because it’s their only way to have social interactions with others. Attending church helps to lift them from their loneliness – which is obviously beneficial.

And, still others attend as a “means to an end.” Some business people attend as a way to make contacts, to enhance their image, and even to conduct business. When these are the benefits desired, rarely does a spiritual experience occur.

Some people go to church just to get out of the house. This is especially true when there is stress, unrest, and discord in the home. Going to church provides a respite from the “negativity” of the house. Going to a place of peace and harmony often lends itself to a positive spiritual experience. However, the benefits are not as great if one is simply escaping, rather than entering into the spiritual, the benefits are not as great.

Some people worship at private alters at home; some attend church via television or radio – and many find this to be a positive experience.

Finally, to quote Mr. Fischer, “…there are those who attend church and become mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically involved in the worship service. The sermon or lesson, the instructional part of the service, helps them to know how to live a more positive and productive life. The prayers or meditations, the experiential part of the service, enable them to feel the presence of God. This feeling can be carried over into everyday living and be of great value.”

So, we’ve looked at where we worship (in church, at home, etc.), when most of us worship (Sunday), and why we worship (obligation or duty, social interactions, business, escape, and to have a truly spiritual experience). What’s the alternative?

The Alternative

I’d like to share Mr. Fischer’s alternative – not as a substitute,  but something we can do in addition to our regular worship – and that is, “to worship on a daily basis. This worship occurs at any time and in any place that you (we) feel adoration for and devotion to God.

This worship experience is not something that must be experienced in church. Worship on a daily basis can be done at any place, any time. You (we) may have a sacred and important place in your (our) home – a place where you can become quiet and feel the presence of God.” You might wish to stop by the Center and use the Prayer & Meditation Rooms.

Tying back to our quote and never missing an opportunity to see something beautiful, “The things of nature often remind us of the attributes of God. We can look at a soaring mountain peak and think of it as a majestic altar. The calm waters of a placid lake can put us in the mood for worship. A quiet glen provides a gentle setting for worship. The places and times of worship are endless.

The important thing to remember is the alternative – that is, worship does not have to be limited to attending church; and it should not be. Letting your spirit soar in a sense of adoration and devotion to God should not be just a weekly experience. It can occur almost constantly. It could be called “practicing the presence of God.” The quality of life derived from such experiences is indeed great beyond our wildest expectations.

The true worship experience will improve our lives, but it will not make of us ‘goody-goodies.’ Rather, it will cause us to be effervescent persons; persons with the magnetism to attract interesting friends into our lives; persons with a certain glow about us, which will make others want to be around us. Our minds will be energized with the realization of God’s life in them. Our hearts will brim with love, and we will live in a world of peace and harmony.”

Can we do more?

To me, worship is more than sitting in church, or even seeing the beauty around us. It’s similar to our discussion of prayer – we talked about living our lives in prayer without ceasing. Worship can be present in how we listen, how we speak, and how we act. When we’re listening, do we listen attentively? Or are we hearing, but inwardly focusing on what we’re going to say next, what errands we need to run, what we’re going to fix for dinner? When we truly listen, we may just hear God telling us things we need to hear through the mouths of others.

When we speak, do we speak with words of love? Are we gentle and kind? Or are we rude, foul-mouthed, nasty, and hateful? How about our actions? Do we make hurtful, nasty gestures? Do we treat others with kindness and respect, regardless of the situation? Do we assist others to the best of our ability?

Listening, speaking, and doing are important aspects in our worship experience. If how we live, how we treat others, how we listen, how we speak, and how we behave isn’t changed by our deepening relationship with God then we’re saying that God isn’t really all that important after all. How can we say we worship God when our words and our actions don’t reflect of our reverence of Him?

As we go about our daily living, we might do well to remember that if we wish to live in a state of constant worship, we should ask ourselves:

  • Do my thoughts, words, and actions glorify God?
  • Are my thoughts, words, and actions an example of God and Christ living in me?

Psalms 89:7 reminds us God is…”to be held in reverence by all those around Him.” Remember, worship is to feel an adoring reverence. So, it is right that we strive to live our lives in a state of constant worship. In John 4:24, Jesus says, “God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” When we worship in spirit, we worship from the heart. And our actions must live up to our words. In Mark 7:6 Jesus says, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are from me.”

Closing Thoughts

Over time, we have attended, and will continue to attend, worship services for a variety of reasons. Why we choose to attend will have a direct impact into the type of experience we have. When we attend with the intent to have a truly God-filled experience, we gain to most spiritual benefit. And, when we have this sort of experience, it spills over into our daily living the rest of the week. In addition to our weekly gatherings, as the quote says, we should always be on the lookout for God’s handwriting – the beauty of God all around us.

This reminds me of a line in an old Carpenters song, “there is beauty in most everything I see.” When we take the time to see God’s beauty all around us, when we listen attentively, when we speak lovingly, and when we behave in a kind, loving manner, we live our lives in a state of constant worship. When we experience God in and around us at all times, when we worship in spirit and in truth, and when we honor God and Jesus with our hearts and minds, our lives become  more energized and love-filled; and the quality of our lives, as well as those around us, is enhanced exponentially. If you haven’t already, I invite you to enter into a life of constant worship.

Scripture

  • Psalms 89:7
  • John 4:24
  • Mark 7:6

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If you’d like to share your thoughts on God’s Handwriting and Worship, please post your comments. And, if this message resonates with you, free to share it.

Keep in mind this is a synopsis of Sunday’s message. The actual service, and subsequent discussion, added to the message and the experience for us all. If you’d like to worship with us, participate in fellowship, and be a part of the experience we share – join us each Sunday at 10:45.

Friendly Conversations – Teaching

In Part 4 of our Alternatives series we’ll discuss the topic of Prayer.

What is prayer?

The dictionary defines prayer as:

  1. A devout petition to God or an object of worship
  2. A spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession

Quote

Saint Teresa of Avila defined it this way:

“Prayer is a friendly conversation with the One we know loves us.”

Thoughts

Types of Prayer

According to Alternatives, the most common prayer is, “the prayer of supplication.” And, according to Wiki.answers.com, supplication is a type of prayer that is asking for something; a humble beseeching request. Beseeching means to implore urgently or to beg eagerly. No wonder Mr. Fischer says, “…we have concluded that we must fill the role of a praying beggar…asking God to give us something we do not have.”

The next type of prayer is prayer of agony. During times of stress and worry we need divine intervention – so we turn to this type of prayer. Unfortunately, this isn’t really prayer – it’s a monologue, a one-sided conversation wherein we recite our troubles to God. In this type of one-sided approach to prayer we are rarely open and receptive to hear God’s answers.

Sometimes we pray simply because it’s the thing to do. Our heart isn’t really in it. This happens a lot, and may have happened to you, during worship services. When we reach the points in our service that call for prayer, sometimes we just go through the motions. This type of prayer is termed “perfunctory.” And, along these same lines are prayers that we simply read or say. Often these types of prayers lack feeling, they don’t “come from the heart.” That’s why, after we read or say a prayer during our services, I often leave a moment of silence; so that we can enter into that quiet, personal, spiritual communion with God.

Pray Constantly

In Ephesians 6:18, Paul reminds us to “pray at all times in the Spirit.” And, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, he reminds us to “pray without ceasing.” But how? We obviously can’t spend our entire life on bended knee in prayer.

This is where the alternative comes in. And, I believe, what Paul meant. We must train our minds to have a “constant attitude of prayer.” We can start by asking:

  • “Do you appreciate the possibilities of life?
  • Do you want to be of help [and service] to your friends – even to people you hardly know?
  • Do you want to have a better quality of life?
  • Do you want to have the ability to think so clearly that you can evolve solutions to all of life’s problems?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then prayer without ceasing will come easy for you…” It does, however, take practice.

“It is no more than a simple but constant appreciate of life. Life has so many possibilities for us; those possibilities become personal experiences when we have conditioned our minds with appreciation. The mind then becomes similar to fertile soil into which good seeds (divine ideas) fall, to germinate, grow, and blossom into personal virtues.”

“To take your mind off y9ourself and pray for others will help in this process. There are two ways you can pray for others: you can use the ‘arms’ or the ‘w9ings’ of prayer. When you use the arms of prayer, you embrace someone in particular, by thinking of him or her specifically in the highest way you are capable of doing. He or she is the specific target of your prayers and is thus taken into the arms of prayer.

When you use the wings of prayer, you simply send your prayers forth to all who are receptive to them. These are great, sweeping prayers, sent winging on their way to do the general good.”

There is no need to beseech, or beg God to hear. God already hears.

It’s important, too, to make an honest effort to de-clutter your mind of negative thoughts. And, take time in silence to listen. Remember, prayer is a friendly conversation. After you make your prayers known to God, give God an opportunity to answer.

Personal Thoughts

To me, pray without ceasing means to live my life in a constant state of prayer. I start my day in prayer and meditation. Like Bishop Spong, I spend time, “remembering where God is and how God can be met.” My prayer is that the Love, Light, and Spirit of God be made manifest in, through, and around me; and that I will see the Love, Light, and Spirit of God in everyone and everything around me.

By keeping these thoughts at the forefront of my mind, prayer becomes identified with my actions, how I interact with people, and how I face the challenges of the day. To quote Bishop Spong again, “prayer for me is living.”

My Reiki practice has helped me to see this even more clearly. When I am working with someone who has cancer, I no longer pray, for instance, that the cancer will go away. This is a “begging” prayer and often yields poor results. I’ve realized my purpose may not be to make the cancer go away. My job may be to help the person be more comfortable, maybe reduce the need for drugs, or, just maybe, my purpose may be to help the person to prepare spiritually for the transition. So, my prayer becomes one that invokes God’s Love and Light to work in the person’s life in the way that healing will take place at the right and perfect level – Body, Mind, Spirit or Emotion. If the cancer is to disappear, it will. If the person needs to have a calm mind, a balancing of emotion, or a peaceful spirit – I trust the Love and Light of God to make it manifest in their life.

I have also chosen to follow the example of a friend named Mo. When I spend time in personal prayer, I now keep it very simple: I give thanks for the blessings in my life, I give thanks for the blessings that are on their way to me, and I ask that the Love and Light of God guide me to face any challenges that come my way today. Then, I get silent. I spend time just listening for God’s “still, small voice.”

Closing Thoughts

When we can keep the Spirit of God at the forefront of our thoughts and actions as we go through our day, we will live a life in which we “pray without ceasing.” Living life in this way draws us closer in consciousness to God. “When you are in close consciousness to God, you have a new self-appreciation, you are more assured, more considerate of others, and more Christ-like in your actions.”

Scripture

  • Ephesians 6:18
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17

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Our Essential Nature – Teaching

Quote

One of God’s challenges to us is to see past the surface, to the deeper essential nature which lies beneath.
~Bones Episode

Thoughts

Continuing our series based on the book Alternatives by William L. Fischer, we turn this week to the chapter titled “Male and Female.”

I find our quote this week to be particularly applicable – on several levels. The Bones episode from which this quote is taken is titled, “The He in the She.” The quote reminds us, I feel, to look past the surface – male/female, gay/straight, black/white, Christian/non-Christian, etc. – and to see the essential nature – the nature of God – in everyone.

The challenge of looking beneath the surface applies to our reading and studying of Scripture, as well. The Bible is a collection of history, stories, metaphors, and parables. The books themselves were not written in the order in which they appear. They were told verbally for decades, even centuries, then finally written. And, over time, they have been translated numerous times, into numerous languages. As we read and study, one of our challenges is to keep in mind the translation (or mistranslation), the time in which it was written, the audience to whom it was written, and the context in which it was written. We must look beneath the surface, to the deeper essential nature of the Scripture.

The Alternatives chapter “Male and Female” invites us to do just that – to look beyond the surface and to realize our true nature.

Born of Sin

The chapter leads off discussing the concept that our nature is one of being born in sin:

“One of the prominent beliefs concerning mankind is that we were “conceived in iniquity and born in sin”…We have accepted, even concluded, that we are indelibly tainted with the original sin of Adam and Eve. But if we take the time to explore the Bible in depth, we will realize that the story of Adam and Eve is allegorical. It was composed after much of the rest of the Old Testament was recorded, designed to give a beginning to the story of human beings. We cannot deny that the story of creation is beautifully written, but we would do well to remind ourselves that it is man’s endeavor to write of his beginnings…Is this our true estate? Are we doomed to spend our lifetime struggling to overcome the sin that we brought into this world at birth? Do we need to keep reminding ourselves (and God) of this sinfulness?…How can we ever surmount a burden of sin that is imposed upon us by the nature of our creation?”

Heirs of God

We can start by remembering that we are children and heirs of God. In Romans 8:16 & 17, Paul reminds us that, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…”

King David had the same basic insight centuries before Paul. In Psalm 8:4-6 he writes, “What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands, You have put all things under his feet.”

Turning back to Alternatives,

“The Bible is replete with references to the spiritual greatness of human beings. In our human inclination, we have tended to see ourselves as we appear to be, rather than as the true spiritual masterpieces we are.”

Divine Light Within

Our challenge is to see ourselves as divine masterpieces of God’s creation, and to shed the “old and negative opinions we have accepted of ourselves and others.” When we do, we will see that we are not miserable sinners by birth, but rather we truly are created in the image of God, filled with a divine light that shines within each of us.

In Luke 11:33 Jesus says, “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.”  “That is our divine destiny – to be a light unto the world.

If we accept the challenge, and let the divine light shine through us, we will show others not only that we are children of God, but they are, too!

No Partiality

We all need God in our lives. Since we are created in the image of God, we are all expressions of God on earth – all of us…male/female, gay/straight, etc.

“We are the vehicles through which God is able to express and be conscious on earth. Can you accept the responsibility for this thinking? If you can and will, magnificent qualities will find expression through you. Your life will be changed into a glorious expression of exciting goodness. It is not a kind of goodness that will inhibit you, but one that will expand you. You will begin to feel the real possibilities of life.”

We are all blessed by God’s love and light. Sometimes however, it seems that God plays favorites – blessing some more than others. When we have these feelings, it’s important to remember that God looks upon us all equally. We all have different talents and abilities. Acts 10:34 says, “…In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.” Romans 2:11 echoes these words, “For there is no partiality with God.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 reads, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” And finally, Galatians 3:28 & 29 sums it all up, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s see, and heirs according to the promise.”

“Some persons take advantage of their divinity more than others, and we are inclined to envy them; but we must not. We need not be concerned with them.”

Remember Jesus’ words in John 21:22, “…what is that to you? You follow me.”

“Therefore, we must be about the business of acknowledging and expressing our own divinity. When we do this, then we too are “about or Father’s business” (Luke 2:49), giving expression to the divine qualities with which each of us has been endowed.”

Closing Thoughts

Yes, our challenge is to see past the surface and to discover, and embrace, our true nature. We are children and heirs of God, and we all have divine light within us, equally – God shows no partiality.

To put it simply,

“Rather than allowing ourselves to be mired in the concept of original sin, we can see ourselves as we really are. We are God’s children. Our souls are alight with the fire of heavenly virtues.”

Scripture

  • Romans 8:16 & 17
  • Psalm 8:4-6
  • Luke 11:33
  • Acts 10:34
  • Romans 2:11
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
  • Galatians 3:28 & 29
  • John 21:22
  • Luke 2:49

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Brighten Your World – Teaching

Quote

“The more light you allow within you,
the brighter the world you live in will be.”
~Shakti Gawain

Thoughts

This is Week 2 of our Alternatives series. Today, our topic is Jesus. Jesus is known as “the Light of the World.” Our quote could easily say, “The more Jesus you allow into your life, the brighter the world will be.”

Although we have numerous sculptures, statues, paintings, etc. depicting Jesus, none of us truly knows what He looked like. We have, however, turned Jesus, or the image of Jesus, into something or someone to be worshipped. It’s interesting to me that Jesus never instructed His disciples, or anyone else, to worship Him. Not once did He say, “Worship Me.” There are, however, 23 references to Jesus saying, “Follow Me.”

Many of these instances, recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, speak of the same event. For instance, Matthew 4:19 & Mark 1:17; Matthew 9:9, Mark 2:14, and Luke 5:27; and Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, and Luke 18:22. John relates two instances not mentioned in the other three Gospels; John 1:43 and 21:19. Obviously Jesus placed great importance on His disciples following Him – living and loving as He lived and loved.

Jesus also didn’t walk around saying, “Hey, look how great I am.” Quoting once again from Alternatives:

“Jesus Christ showed all of us that we each have direct access to God. He did not walk across the land, saying, ‘Look what I, as the Son of God, can do.’ Rather, He walked among the people, telling them, in effect, ‘Here is what you, as a child of God, can do.’ At one point He even said, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’?” [John 10:34, referencing Psalm 82:6] He told us of our true estate: we are reflections of God Almighty.”

Unfortunately, it’s hard for us to grasp the concept of our own divinity. We have been taught for centuries that Jesus alone was the offspring of God. It was, after all, Jesus who performed the miracles described in the Gospels.

In order to follow Jesus, we must begin to embrace our own divinity – recognizing God and Jesus living in and through us. Quoting again:

“In order to do this, we need to go back to the direct teachings of Jesus. We must not permit ourselves to become overly concerned with what either the church or its leaders have said about Him. The important thing is what Jesus Himself taught. We have become more concerned with the religion about Jesus Christ than with the religion of Jesus Christ.

How do we know how to follow Him? The answers are simple; activating the answers in our lives will be more difficult. We need only go to the gospel accounts of His life, study them carefully, and make a sincere attempt to activate them in our own lives and affairs.”

There were three basic tenets to Jesus’ teaching: Healing, Love, and Faith. Paraphrasing and quoting once more:

“What would be life-changing for us to follow?

The idea of healing was central to Jesus’ ministry. The Bible records that He healed ‘all manner of disease.’ [Matthew 4:23] Nothing is incurable in the sight of God; therefore, nothing was incurable in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. If we believe that we can do the works that He did, nothing shall be incurable to us, for we too will be working in the flow of the power of God…when we pray believing, there is an activity of healing working through us…

The idea of love was uppermost in Jesus’ teachings. His example shows us that His love was so great that it embraced even His enemies. He instructed us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. If we are to really follow Him, our lives must be dominated by love. There would then be no room in our minds and hearts for thoughts and feelings of anything less than love – no hate, no envy, no jealousy, no malice. This may be the most important alternative that we follow: to be completely motivated with compassion. This makes of us radiating centers of divine love. As such, we make our greatest contribution to the world. When the time comes that the world is dominated by love, war shall be impossible. Many of the problems that confront the people of the world today will dissolve before the intense warmth of God’s love, a love that fins expression through God’s people.

The idea of faith was also exemplified by Jesus Christ. He referred to faith as the mountain-mover in our lives. He taught that when people have sufficient faith, there is no problem in life that cannot be overcome. He conquered even death, through His faith in eternal life. As our Way-Shower He demonstrated to us that we cannot live without faith. As we take up the quality of faith as a hallmark for our own lives, we find that we have the key to more abundant living. Faith has been referred to as a ‘key’ to open life’s doors. It truly is! A divinely inspired faith gives the vision and strength to scale the waiting hills of life and to know the exaltation of living at the peak of human capabilities.

Obviously the teachings of Jesus are intricate and extensive. But if you will take the time to delve deeply into those teaching, you will find they are totally applicable to contemporary living. If, in addition to whatever feelings of awe and reverence you have toward Jesus, you will also seek to follow His teachings, you will find this experience a life-changing one.”

Closing Thoughts

Isaiah 2:5 says, “…walk in the light of the Lord.” John 8:12 reads, “I am the Light of the world.” And Ephesians 5:14 says, “Christ shall give thee light.” By recognizing our own connection to the Divine; by following Jesus’ teachings; by allowing the light of Christ to illuminate us, filling us and flowing through us; we will co-create a brighter, more beautiful world.

Scripture

  • Matthew 4:19, 9:9, 19:21, 4:23, 8:12
  • Mark 1:17, 2:14, 10:21
  • Luke 5:27, 18:22
  • John 1:43, 21:19, 10:34
  • Psalm 82:6
  • Isaiah 2:5
  • Ephesian 5:14

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Getting Close to God – Teaching

In my quest to dig a little deeper into the Scriptures, I’ve been reading several books. So many people have done so much research that I’ll never have the means or ability to do. Some of what I read I dismiss because it doesn’t resonate with me. Some, however, helps me to think differently; strengthening my belief, and enhancing my relationship with God.

One such book is called “Alternatives” by William L. Fischer. I had read it several years ago, set it aside, and haven’t given it another thought. Last week, I came across the book again, re-read it, and this time much of what I read stuck with me; so much so that I’ve decided to do a series based on each chapter of the book. Not everything we will be discussing will resonate with everyone – and I accept that. But, it will present some new ways to explore our beliefs and, ultimately, to enhance our relationship with God, and with each other.

The first chapter is titled “God.” At times, many of us feel disconnected, separate from God. Our quote this week speaks directly to this feeling of separation.

Quote

If you are not as close to God as you used to be,
who moved?
~St. Mathias’ Church Bulletin

Thoughts

God is bigger than our human minds can comprehend. And our language is insufficient to adequately describe “Him.” So, to make God make sense to us, we’ve created our own images of “Him.”

Let me start by reading you the opening paragraphs:

“Most of us, from our earliest learning experienced, have been taught that God is a supreme “man.” We have been told that “God created man in his own image,” and we have not realized that this image is male and female. Not fully understanding our own origin, we have easily decided to create God in man’s image.

Consequently, we have made of God a “superman.” Inasmuch as God has been around since the beginning of time, “He” would naturally have to be a very old man; so, we have given “Him” a flowing beard. Since the Judeo-Christian concept of God came out of a patriarchal (male-dominated) society, we have learned to always refer to God with male pronouns: He, Him, His.

Our teaching further told us that the abode of God is the kingdom of heaven. When we speak of heaven, we think of it as being “up.” Therefore, we have assumed that heaven is in the sky, that perhaps God dwells somewhere on the periphery of our universe.”

I would submit that we have morphed God into a type of Santa Claus – an old white man with a long white beard, sitting on a magic throne, floating around somewhere “out there,” keeping lists of who is naughty and nice, and handing out rewards and punishments.

Quoting again,

“All in all, we have made God most inaccessible. We have made “Him” into a “Man” with human attitudes and emotions magnified to supernatural proportions. We have placed the kingdom of God so far away that we do not really know how to “get there.” We have made of God one whose love is to be greatly desired and whose wrath is to be feared. We have given God a whimsical personality: sometimes “He” answers our prayers and sometimes “He” does not. We have made God one who seems most pleased when we come to “Him” as praying beggars and sinners.”

If we want to get closer to God, perhaps we need to examine our concept. In John 14:11 Jesus says, “…the Father is in me.” Remember, Paul said, “…Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) If we have been created in God’s image, the Spirit, the breath of God, is in us. God was in Jesus, and, by breathing life into us, God is in us as well. God was in Christ, Christ is in us, and so God is in us. God can’t get any closer!

Because God is within us, “He” is completely accessible, anywhere and anytime. All we have to do is turn quietly within ourselves. Quoting once again:

“Does this mean that God is found only within people? Not at all. As Creator, God is imbued in all creation. The presence of God is not limited to people; but the presence of God finds aware and refined expression through people. ‘God slumbers in the rocks. God stirs in the flowers. God awakens in Man.’ The mountains reflect the majesty of God. A calm lake carries the message of the serenity of God. A sleeping infant reminds us of the uniqueness of God. The flaming red of a full-blown rose tells us of the beauty of God.

We could well say that God is where we find God. God is the principle responsible for all creation. The Principle cannot abandon the creation, without the creation ceasing to be. So, truly, God is in all things. There is no situation or thing on earth so mundane that it does not bear witness to the presence of God. There is no darkness so dark that the light of understanding cannot shine in it. There is no experience so critical that an activity of this all-pervading Spirit cannot harmonize it.”

Closing Thoughts

God is not a distant Santa Claus, floating around “out there” somewhere. God is in and around us – always. God’s Spirit lives in us. When we want to be close to God, all we have to do is take a few moments, look within, still our minds, and connect.

Side Note:

There was a lot of quoting in this message. Some of the future messages in this series may not have as much, or they may be around the same. Please understand the message here, however, is a synopsis of the actual service. We had a wonderful discussion, with several personal perspectives presented, during the service.

Scripture

  • John 14:11
  • Galatians 2:20

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