Monday, April 25, 2011

Spirit of Love


I remember in an old Bible history that I had in maybe 3rd grade God was pictured as an old man on a throne with clouds and angels around him. That was my idea of God for a long time. It seems to be the idea that today's atheists are attacking while today's religious thinkers have gone beyond that image.
I know that God is not up or down, that Absolute Being is not like a human being. I want to find ways to think of Divine Mystery that goes way beyond my childhood image. Ideas like air, light, love help, as long as I think about Air that knows and loves me or Radiance that knows and loves me. Just now a wind picked up and created rapidly changing ripples and shadows on the lake, Wind in which I recognize God who knows and love me.
An 2,000 year old way of talking about God might help me: Spirit. The Hebrew and Greek word for "spirit" means also wind and air and breath. In John 20:22 the Risen Jesus breathes on the disciples and says to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." I am also struck this year that when Jesus dies on the cross, Matthew's Greek says, "He yielded the spirit." John's Greek says "He handed over the spirit." Both use the Greek "the" instead of the Greek possessive for "his." This helps me think of the dying breath of Jesus releasing the Spirit into our world.
Coupling this traditional word "Spirit" with the Love that animated the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus might be a helpful way now for me to think of God. "Spirit of Love" moves me away from human images of God and gives me a non-material way of thinking of the Divine Mystery which knows and loves me.
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