A True Sense of God
When you think about God, what do you think about?
Do you focus specifically on one thing? I feel like most of us do that pretty easily. We'll say things like, "God is love." Or we'll declare that "God is merciful."
But do we really know enough about God to start talking about what God is, or what God is like?
One of my favorite theologians is the Irish philosopher and author, Pete Rollins. Pete wrote an entire book entitled How Not To Speak Of God where he asserted that anything we think or say about God diminishes our understanding of God.
It is an impossibility for us to comprehend the infinite, and any definitions we might use to help us, actually end up restricting us from the comprehension we desire.
I know, right? It's messed up.
So what do we do? How do we put our heads around this to get to a place where we are able to bend our hearts and minds toward God without feeling as though we are failing when we do?
Henri Nouwen once wrote that a good place to start would be in a prayer that goes something like this:
"Lord, give me a sense of who you are. Some people say this about you, other people say that about you, but I want a real sense of who you are for myself."I added the underlines to emphasize the shift in thinking that Nouwen is suggesting. What he's saying is that we move from our head to our heart. The prayer wasn't "God I need to know who you are," it was "give me sense of who you are."
When I read his words I felt something thrilling go through me. What a difference in the way we approach our understanding of God. If I'm looking for a sense of God, I can be more expansive in my imagination about God.
The 13th century author of The Book of Privy Counseling wrote this prayer:
That which I am I offer to you, LordI commend both of these prayers to you today. Pray them a few times. Ask God for a sense of who God is. Seek the quality of God's being without qualifications or definitions.
without looking to any quality of your
being but only to the fact that you
are as you are; this, and nothing more.
And let yourself feel... let yourself rest... let yourself imagine... and in so doing may you experience God in ways that you never thought possible.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.