May God Rid You of God
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. - 1 Corinthians 13:11
The God of my youth was a severe, judgmental and punishing god---the kind of deity who was just waiting for me to mess up so he could crush me like an insect.
This was the only god that made sense to me then. How else could you rationalize the horrors of violence, natural disasters, disease, hunger and the like except through the lens of this punishing, judgemental god?
But there came a day when the images of that god no longer worked for me, and so I walked away from that god--believing that I was probably an atheist, or at the very least an agnostic.
What I didn't realize at the time, however, was that my understanding of God was changing, growing and going through a necessary stage of development. In order to have a fuller understanding of God, I needed to fire that old god image and consign it to the dustbin of my memory.
Once that happened, I began to see God differently. My understanding of God expanded beyond the primitive and I started to see God as unconditionally loving, holy beyond my imagination and truly the ground of all of our being.
The thirteenth-century theologian and mystic, Meister Eckhart once wrote: "I pray God to rid me of God." What Eckhart desired was that God would give him the wisdom to let go of his own notions of God, his wrong-headed images and beliefs, and to fill him instead with something closer to complete.
While he knew that he would never fully understand God, Eckhart knew enough to know that whatever images he was hanging on to were most likely of his own creation, and were most certainly not God at all.
Theologian Richard Rohr once wrote:
Your image of God creates you--or defeats you. There is an absolute connection between how you see God and how you see yourself and the whole universe.What image of God might you need to let go of today in order to begin to truly experience God more fully? What ideas of God do you need to "fire" in order to be free to truly embrace the love, goodness, and holiness of God?
May you find the courage and the strength to do so, and find new joy and fulfillment in your relationship with the Divine. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.