This morning I came across a quote from Rabbi Abraham Heschel that has continued to stay with me all day. It is one of those things that causes the brain to expand.
The primary task of the philosophy of religion is to discover those questions to which religion is the answer.
This is so much the reverse of what we usually do that it is hard to think about. We have so many questions about our faith and God. This makes me think about why it is all important. What is it for me that the answer is religion…or not religion exactly but God? What question would I be asked that the answer would be God? I think one would be what holds me together? What gives me strength and supports me on my path?
I am not sure that these are the type of questions that the rabbi meant but these are certainly questions that would lead me back to God as the answer. I know I will be pondering this quote for a while and just to take this one step further I was reminded of this quote from Thomas Merton. Not exactly the same thing but something else to think about.
Once again I am thinking about the prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book. There is one phrase that has had me thinking for quite a while. I suspect that I will keep on thinking about it.
“Loving God in whom is heaven”
What a unique way to see heaven. Not as streets lined with gold or some other image that we might conjure up….but God himself/herself. In God is heaven. Being drawn into God to become part of all creation. I love that idea.
I am sure there are other ways to interpret this phrase but that is the one I am pondering now.
During this time where we all are living differently than usual there may be many questions we would like to ask God.
Why did this happen?
Did you let it happen?
What kind of God would do this?
Is this punishment for our sins?
Some people will give answers depending on their point of view. Some people may decide that if this is the kind of God we have they don’t want it. Some people will blame God. Some people will blame themselves or others.
This is a theological conundrum.
The truth is the answer is a matter of faith. It is, mostly, in your image or idea about God. No one can prove any answer. Answers need belief not proof.
Bad things happen to good and bad people. It has been that way from the beginning of life. You have to decide what that means to you and how you will move forward with what you believe.
People have been posting things to do to help us to wash our hand properly. For me this is not hard. There are several things I enjoy doing and have taught them while I was at the church as parish nurse.
This is one of my favorites. Just one verse will do.
Saying The Lord’s Prayer is also good.
For children I always told them Jesus Love Me.
There are so many things that will work. I hope you find something that you enjoy and get in the habit of washing well and continue when this is all over. May you and yours be safe and filled with God’s peace during this time of anxiety.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Hope. A word to cling to. I suspect that one of the worst things that can happen to us is to have no hope. But having hope also depends on what we hope for. Writings from those in the concentration camps of the Hitler era show that even in conditions of horror hope was still present.
Hope can be a matter of perspective. Am I hoping that I can be an opera singer (not likely) or that my day will be a good one? It is possible that neither will come true but one is less likely.
If my hope rests with the Lord then I will never lose it. The psalm says his love is steadfast and I believe it with all my heart. I will hope in God no matter what.
If you can’t believe in God the chances are your God is too small. J.B. Phillips
We keep trying to make God understandable. We want a God who thinks like us and behaves like us. However, God is much bigger than that. So big that we can’t even begin to understand him/her. God’s ways are beyond our ability to grasp. Stop trying to make God so small.
[ Do Not Worry ] “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? …
Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but—-more frequently than not—-struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God. Martin Luther
It is so easy to believe in things that can be proved. Grass is green….the sky is blue. We can see those things for ourselves. Faith in God is a leap into the unknown. A step into something that is not physical and according to reason cannot be proved. What we don’t realize is there a many things that we can’t prove. Can I prove that I love someone? Only by actions and words. There is no science that can test it.
When science want to mock belief in God because God cannot be proved remember there are other things we have faith in that have no scientific proof.
When times are frustrating for me and things throw me off my path this is the quote that immediately comes to mind. It is something that I can say over and over again as a mantra. It will move me into a place of calm. If you have a favorite scripture verse or other piece that you can use in this way try it. Just the repetition will take you to a different place.
I love this quote. It blames women for everything. I hope that is not what God intended. We do see Eve blame the whole thing on the snake. This may be one of the pieces of scripture that led men to see women as inferior. I plan to think more about this passage and see where it takes me. How about you?