God is … ?

light through cloudsA friend recently asked, ‘Who – what – is God, anyway?’ The question rumbled around in my heart for days … and here is one response:

God is the life-force, the love-force, that (who) holds everything together and moves everything toward deeper and deeper relationship – relationship with God and, thus, each other.

Or, working backwards, as we often do, we seek deeper relationship with each other and, through that, a deeper relationship with God, herself. True relationship, true love, always points to and reflects God, for God is love. Thus, even feeble, faltering, messy attempts to love can be steps in the right direction.

We might as well ask, what is the universe? For, as we connect more and more of the dots, we find that they reflect a mysterious unity. This scattered, shattered beauty is being drawn together in love. It blossoms and grows where it can. It repairs and reconciles where that is needed. In the end, love triumphs by loving.

It seems so weak, sometimes, to wait on love, to yield to love, to refuse to use coercion, to leave yourself so vulnerable. In the end, it is the only thing strong enough to hold it all together. And, that is heaven: being held together in love – in God.

 

[photo by Tyler Nienhouse per cc 2.0]

the moonbeam’s box

holding a moonbeam
At the end of the day (or the beginning)
The heart of my faith rests in my heart.
It’s not the creeds or doctrines.
It’s not the smells and bells.
It is the hope (and sometimes realization)
Of the touch of the Holy on my soul.

That hope and promise of relationship,
My hope – our hope together –
Is what has held me firm,
Even as I question and struggle
With the forms and frames that have been dictated to me.
The path is not the destination.

“Spirituality is the moonbeam.
Religion is the box we try to catch it in.”
We need the box,
Else the real is too elusive for beginners.
And we are all beginners, to the end.
But the box is not a substitute for what gives life.

A God who loves me:
That is the source and joy of life.
An invitation to reciprocate that love,
(For love is full only when it is freely returned)
That is the mystery.
That holy circle of grace is all in all.

[The quotation about the moonbeam is from DR. KWEETHAI NEILL, PHD]
[Thanks to Timothy Luke Johnson for the insight that it is the experience of God, not correct doctrine, that is the abiding power of Christianity.]
[photo by Judy van der Velden per cc 2.0]

the exchange

mother and child
There is an image,
An exchange I witnessed,
That has been percolating
In my memory for years.

You’ve probably seen it, too:
A young mother
With her infant bouncing on her lap.
They are enthralled with one another.

What flows between them,
Almost visible as their eyes connect,
Palpable in the air between them,
Is the exchange of life-giving love.

The infant is held by something
So much stronger than her hands.
The mother is upheld
With something just as strong.

Their gifts to one another
Are so tangible
So vital
So real.

Yet each is filled,
Not emptied.
Full of a love that will not be contained.
A rush of life between them.

This is love incarnate.
Love enfleshed; love fulfilled.
This is how life is passed on.
Birth is just the beginning.

Perhaps this shows me why
The Christ came to us.
To look us in the eye
And give us life.

God breathed upon the clay.
Christ looked on us with love.
The Spirit, now within us,
Empowers life’s eternal flow.

It is like breath:
Receiving in; giving out.
Each delightful exchange
Brings life anew.

[image cropped from photo by Robert Moores per cc 2.0]

Listen

like music - trees reflected on a lake leave the impression of sound waves

Lean your ear against the heart of the earth,
Feel its breath upon your cheek,
And listen.

Listen past the noise of the news,
Past the roar of traffic
Even past the thumping of your own heart.

Sometimes, sometimes,
You can catch the whisper of hope
That will not die.

It’s there, you know:
Emergent life,
The pure gift of irrepressible love.

Such love does not demand attention.
Instead, intentional gratitude
Can help to open your heart to its sweet call.

Listen.
It calls you now.
And waits, patiently, upon your turning.

[photo from the blog nature has no boss, posted 9/5/17, by Mike Bizeau, used with permission]

Strange math

two as oneGod’s math is strange:
In an intimate partnership,
The two become one:
One in love – sharing one love.

And this strange God
Is also One, in intimate partnership
Among the three
One love inviting more into that circle

Even welcoming you and me
Into that very dance
Where the one love extends ever outward
A universe bursting out in deep relationship.

How lovely
And how strange.

[photo by Aftab Uzzaman per cc 2.0]

tangible love

kindnessits nice to have those warm and fuzzy feelings
that let me snuggle down into myself
its like a good nap
fun for me, but pretty useless for others
unless I use the energy I gain for them
unless I act out that warmth in human connection

unless love makes a connection
I’m not sure its really love, after all

[photo by Hossein Ghodsi per cc 2.0]

lumpy love

lumpy loveThe whole of our love for each other is lumpy
Because love is specific
And because we are all lumpy.

It is easy to say you love the whole world.
It is harder to love an individual.
Sometimes their warts get in the way.
Sometimes yours are the problem.

We all hold within us insight and befuddlement.
We hold the whole mix of emotions
And motivations
And misconceptions.
We are both right and wrong
Good and bad.

When we love those whose
Confusions align with our own
Is that love or simple resonance?

Perhaps it is love with training wheels.

Mature love can be bigger,
More encompassing.
It begins to mimic the love of God,
Who sends rain on the just and the unjust.

Let us all raise our faces to that rain
And drink in the moisture
That lets us truly flourish.

We’ve had enough of dry times.
Let it rain.

 

[photo by Becka Spence per cc 2.0]