One in three. Last time I spoke to you I
shared my friendship with the Holy Ghost with you. Next week, Jesus
Christ will complete the trilogy, but today I want to talk about our
Creator, the parent of all.
Most of us find it difficult comprehend
God as our friend, the Holy Spirt. Jesus as
the God who shared His humanity with us is easier to picture, but God
the Creator is the toughest of all. When I turn to the story of
creation my human mind instantly raises questions that the human brain
was just not designed to answer. Like, “what was there before there was
a beginning?” “How do you create out of a void?”
and “Who created God so that everything else could be created?”
Actually, over the years I have found posing questions like these a
wonderful cure for insomnia: my brain just decides to shut down and let
me sleep rather than try to explore them any further!
don’t expect to be able to envisage the Holy Ghost: she just is an
unseen presence, represented sometimes by a dove, sometimes by fire.
And Jesus has had so many pictures painted giving us artists’
interpretations that just about any male figure with a beard with
sandals is assumed to be a representation of Him. But God . . . no one
has seen God other than when he assumed the façade of a human for, as he
warned Moses, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” So
all those portrayals of God with the great white beard and august
majesty are complete fabrications form the artists’ imagination. I’ve
decided I’ll just take God’s word for it: God created humanity in His
own image, in the image of God were we created; male and female were
created in God’s image.
The core of each of us, our soul, palely reflects the majesty of God,
for that is our very essence: our humanity and Godhead.
God is just such an enormous mystery:
at one moment loving the fallen sparrow and at the next the raging
jealous God demanding fidelity. So often God is portrayed in the Old
Testament as the one pointing the finger at us, calling us to task,
demanding obedience, delivering those “thou shalt
nots” or the war-like bearer of fire and
brimstone for sinners. In the Sistine Chapel high above your head,
Michaelangelo’s visualization of this God
points a stern finger at Adam from his cherub-adorned throne in a cloud.
For myself, I prefer the God of to-day’s Psalm (Psalm 8): “When I
consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place, what is [a hu]man[ity]
that you are mindful of him [us] . . . ?” What a far better image for
the finger of God.
I think I understood God better once I
was a parent. I am sure, like me, you loved each child from the first
moment you laid eyes on the newborn babe, sacrificed and put the child
first often, at great cost to yourself. Yet our children madden us
with worry: from diaper rash to dating, from teething to grades to
drugs and driving. They turn a deaf ear to our instructions and
advice. They stay out too late; have friends we don’t like; wear tops
too low and skirts too short and their trousers drag on the ground.
They argue that other friends’ mothers let them do what we won’t and
they insist that they are old enough to do anything you don’t want them
to do. How like that we must seem to God. Indeed, God’s angry moments
seem very parental. God has taught and lectured and warned and still
we ignore . . . sometimes it must seem that all that has been left for
God is to despair over the fallen.
God created this perfect world and gave
it to us, His people: and we have rejected his gifts over and over in
our conviction that there must be something MORE. Over and over through
the centuries people wanted to try something new, something forbidden,
something bad for them and the world. And just as with the advice we
give our children, the warnings God had given us were true. And just as
most of our children tend to survive their worst adventures to come home
to us, we have suffered and survived and when we turn to God our return
brings the same joy at our return that we feel when our children give
that tentative knock on the door, or call us for advice or help:
because they know we’ll be there for them. They may have to tolerate a
lecture or an ‘I told you . . . “ BUT they
know their hold on our heart secures them a place at the table.
And God is just the same, only so much
more and so much better.
As a woman and mother, I tend to see
the more female side of God (if I can be excused the use of
stereotypes): the endless forgiveness, the love that watches and
worries when we go astray and the open arms when we return repentant.
My husband, on the other hand, tends to see the foregone opportunities
that God offered to His people and were rejected or ignored. But God
never forgets His people even when they shun His gifts.
am just awe-struck by God. I know that when I consider the unbearable
complexity of the depths of the sea, the silken softness of a baby’s
cheek and the translucent beauty in a butterfly’s wing . . . I know that
I cannot comprehend what or who God is: but I do know that God loves
me, and I am His and He is mine, forever.