Sunday, 18 March 2012

God accepts us where we are.

Return of the Prodigal Son - Rembrandt
God accepts us where we are. God meets us where we are, not where others would have us be.  

It is said that God finds us.  We do not find God.  For most of us, we learn about God through our parents, teachers or religious institutions.  Depending into which culture we are born, we may learn about a God who is Christian or Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, and so on.   Considering all the variations that exist within each individual religious group, the different and conflicting interpretations of God are inevitable and not unexpected.  Then there are those who are born into families or countries where atheism exists in varying degrees.  But knowing about God is not the same as experiencing the Divine. There are many teachers among us who would have us believe that to experience our Creator we must first adopt the basic fundamentals of their beliefs through a series of initiations such as baptism or specific religious teachings. 

This begs the question, "does our experience of God depend on our particular belief or non-belief?"  If God does not play favourites and is the Creator of the world and we are part of that creation, is there anyone God would not find? 
 But now, for an even bigger question - one aimed at the suggestion that we must first adopt specific religious teachings to experience God.   Considering what we have learned in less than one hundred years about our ever expanding universe and the number of habitable planets within the cosmos, are we going to insist that each one would have God re-enact the same story that we have been taught, or are we prepared to accept that God is perfectly able to reveal himself to every creation in a uniquely different way? Remember, when God calls on you, it will be in a manner that is completely congruent to your nature; not in a way that would cause you fear or angst.  If we can accept that this Creator is beyond all earthly understanding, we can perhaps slowly let go of our insistence that God demands our obedience to strict rules and regulations.  God, as creator of this incredible cosmos and everything in it suggest, that our understanding of his unconditional love has no boundaries; in fact, that understanding is continuously expanding.  If we can accept that which is almost incomprehensible, it means that there is no place in this universe that is untouched by God’s presence and unconditional love. 

Leaving ourselves open to this possibility also means that we can not only get to experience a God who reaches beyond space and time, doctrine and dogma but can be heard, knocking on the door of our heart.   It is said by many mystics and Christian scriptures that God knew us before Creation (Proverbs 8:22-31).  It is perhaps only due to our ego that we have yet to find our real purpose and potential for greatness.  When we finally answer God’s call, we will rediscover that our Deity rests within our indestructible and eternal soul and is as close as our next heart beat. The Self that God created needs nothing.  It is forever complete, safe, loved and loving. It seeks to share rather than to get; to extend rather than project.  It has no needs and wants to join with others out of their mutual awareness of abundance. (A Course in Miracles)

But trusting in God’s unconditional love is not easy. To begin with, it is always easily pushed aside by our ego.  It has more to do with not knowing than with knowledge about God.  God operates in the present - in the here and now - not in the past and not in the future. The past and the future are simple illusions and are easily distorted by learned experiences of shame, guilt, and fear.  Perhaps the easiest way to rediscover our trust in God is to realize that he never left us (Hebrews 13:5).  “I will not leave you orphaned”  (John 14:15-21).  Just how close is God? This close:   the life you live is not about you! The life you live is Christ experiencing himself through you’.   When we first begin to absorb this reality we will become conscious of it being transmitted to us through another person, nature, life and death experiences, scripture, an inspirational story, the birth of a child, a brilliant starry night or simply, an act of kindness received from or extended to, another.  There are unlimited ways that God reveals himself to us that convey his great unconditional love to us.
 It saddens me however to note that there are times when we convey God’s  love in very conditional ways.  This has caused and continues to cause much pain and suffering in the world.  Unfortunately, we will also often find this in places of worship, be it a temple, synagogue or church.

 How this got to be that way may be a mystery to some but it may have something to do with the ego.  Survey after survey indicates that 90 % or more people in the world believe in a single God, regardless of the Name that they use for that Deity.
  Thusly, I believe a good starting point for any religious institution would be to admit that we don’t know everything there is to know about God.   Only through prayer and dialogue with God can we bring his revelation and promise of salvation alive.    With the birth of every child, the growth of a new flower, dialogue with a stranger, the ongoing expanse of the universe, we are immediately engaged in God’s revelation in a new way, every day, and every moment.   

God accepts us unconditionally where we are, not where others would have us be.   

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