Who is God?-A A +A
The Living Spirit
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
IN ONE of my previous columns, I wrote about Carmelite spirituality. I said there that through spirituality, we learn to look at the reality of things.
Through spirituality, we learn also that God is a reality in us, that the presence of his Spirit is real in us and in all things around us. In the silence of our heart, we learn who God really is, how He looks like.
I remember a story of a retired teacher who had a seven-year-old granddaughter. One day the little girl came home from school and she was crying. The little girl told her that her teacher in the school had ordered the pupils in her class to make a drawing of God. That school was located at the bank of a river. The girl had made a drawing of a swan that was swimming very serenely in the rippling water of the river. When her teacher saw the drawing, he scolded the little girl: ‘God does not look like that.’ The grandmother told her former co-teachers this story and then there was a conversation among those teachers. All their sympathy went of course to that little girl, who – in modern jargon – had drawn an ‘icon’ of majesty and beauty, they said. The teachers asked the question: what was that man looking for? How does God look like, according to him?
If we want to know what God looks like then we must look at the people around us and ask: how do they worship; what do they worship? And then we must look at their actions, their patterns of behavior, the happenings in their life wherein they show how they look at the world in which they live and how all this is connected with each other.
How does God look like? No one has ever seen God. But the Bible gives us some hints, some metaphors how God looks like. God looks like the figure that hangs on the Cross. This figure is the human face of God. Another figure, connected with this, is the figure in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus says there, when he faces the night, the night of betrayal and of being deserted: ‘Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’ When Jesus had said this, there was only silence.
If we read the story well, then it looks like that Jesus didn’t expect an answer. He just listens to the silence of God.
If we follow this metaphor in our own life, we must have the courage to keep our eyes open and look into the darkness, like Jesus did in Gethsemane; He was the only one who was awake and in the silence of his heart he saw the human face of God. What did He see there when he looked into the darkness? He kept on desiring that God’s will be done: the breakthrough of God’s Kingdom in people who are really true to themselves and grow up, while standing for truth, peace and justice in this world, for things that really matter. Among others, that the gap that exists between the rich and the poor in our society will be narrowed down; that the dignity of women be acknowledged and recognized, and so on and so forth.
(For your comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 14, 2013.