Friday, March 5, 2010
To me, Exodus 3:13-15 is the most important passage in the Old Testament. God comes to Moses in the Burning Bush. Like God, Fire is impossible to grasp. It is powerful. It purifies. It gives light.
Moses asks God's name. God replies "I AM Who I AM." In our alphabet the consonants of that phrase are YHWH. There are a few other ways that the Hebrew can be translated and there are a number of scholarly opinions about what it means. I find myself siding with those who think that God is refusing to give a name. God is saying in effect, "Just be content to know that I am who I am. You cannot comprehend me; don't try to reduce me to a name."
In a way the Jewish practice of never saying YHWH out loud seems content with that reply. The practice accepts the fact that we can never completely understand who God is. We have no word or concept that can completely capture the Mystery.
I wonder if using "God" to name the Mystery domesticates It and makes me think of Someone too concrete to be the Almighty. Centering Prayer helps me to keep a sense the Mystery.
This picture that I took yesterday also helps me sit in awe before YHWH.