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The Call to Worship based on Psalm 139
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
ALL: If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
ALL: even there your hand will guide me, you hold me in your hand.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
ALL: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well
Divine Presence call to us today and allow us to hear your voice. Keep us mindful that you are always with us, ever available to us. Awaken within us the knowledge of your constancy and the blessing of your love. Remind us that we are not alone as we share this time together with each other and with you. Amen
The Wisdom of the poet Lucius
“I am She that is the natural Mother of all things…my divinity is adored throughout the world…in variable customs, and by many names.”
The Wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita
The Deity said, “I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon…I am human ability. I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives…I am the original seed of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent…I am the strength of the strong…both spirit and matter are in me…Nothing exists apart from me.”
The Wisdom of the Book of Ephesians (4.4-6)
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Presence, one faith, one baptism, one Source and Substance of all, which is above all and through all and in all.
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"The God Box"
This week we continue on the theme describing the omnipresence of the Eternal One. The readings for this week expand on those from last week and I think it’s very important for us to explore this idea of omnipresence as fully as possible. Most of us were taught about God in particular ways. Usually described as a male father figure, somewhere above us and removed from us in heaven, and in my case, a name taking butt kicking God that was a little bit Santa Clause, a little bit Fairy Godmother, and a little bit angry father.
Considering the omnipresence is something very different. When we imagine the Eternal One as omnipresent, we understand that the Holy One is the life force is found within us and within which we find ourselves. So it’s important for us to make a distinction between the ideas that we’ve been taught in our past, usually based on particular interpretations of scripture, and open our mind to other possibilities. That is precisely what our readings for this week help us to move into.
Monism is the idea that there is one substance from which all life comes forth. Dictionary definition says that monism is a doctrine that denies the existence of a distinction or duality in some sphere, such as that between matter and mind, or God and the world. This definition also assumes that monism holds within it the doctrine that only one Supreme Being exists.
And the concept ONE has two different meanings… ONE can mean set apart and distinct or ONE inclusive, encompassing all. As we open our minds to some new images of God we lift up the Meister Eckhart quote, “I pray God rid me of God.” Let us fearlessly discard our previous notions and think anew about God’s omnipresence. And we add to it another quote from Meister Eckhart, “How long will grown men and women in this world keep drawing in their colouring books an image of God that makes them sad?”
All our readings today give us very diverse examples of what God is “like.” Our first reading from the poet Lucius describes the ancient Goddess Isis saying, “I am She that is the natural Mother of all things…” Since I was a child I’ve personally always found it odd that the One who birthed the universe in the creation myth is often referred to as He. So here we have the God of the universe described as She who birthed all things. Images of the Divine Feminine were more common in ancient times than in more modern times. The great feminist philosopher Mary Daly called to our attention in the late 1960’s that the reference to God exclusively as male is not benign. As Daly famously said, “If God is male, then male is God.” We must at least entertain the possibility that the historical insistence in referring to God exclusively with male pronouns and imagery holds within it a subconscious message, one that is not egalitarian, one that elevates men over women very purposefully
In my opinion we must break free from any idea that God is static and unchanged because if we are in fact part of God’s Omnipresence then we must continue to evolve in our understanding of God. I think it’s important to understand that we, in some sense, in every generation, make God in our own image. Or rather more appropriately said, those in power make God in their own image.
Our second reading from the Bhagavad Gita has the Deity describing itself as taste, light, fragrance, heat, intelligence, strength and ability. Again we as humans are attempting to describe the indescribable, to understand the essence of our being, and to come to terms with the reality that it is very difficult to escape the descriptions that put God in a neat box tied with a ribbon, unchanging, other, out “there” somewhere.
Our reading from Ephesians this week lists SEVEN one’s… one body, one spirit, one hope, one Presence, one faith, one baptism, one Source. The number seven in biblical reference is the number of completeness, perfection, and wholeness. And I think it’s really important for us to grasp this idea that ONE means inclusive of all not distinct, set apart, and other.
Putting God in any kind of box limits God. It’s time we get God out of the boxes of our youth and open our hearts and spirits to new experiences of God’s presence. Additionally its important that we acknowledge that our experience of God may be quite different that another’s experience of God’s presence. Culture, age, and other factors certainly continue to inform my experience of God. I have moved dramatically even over my own lifetime.
So our task in our generation is to discover again and awaken to the concept of Oneness that is described in these many ways in our readings today but is well summed up in our reading from Ephesians that describes the Omnipresent One in seven examples and declares that this “ONE source… is above all, and through all, and in all.” So we can think of God above us but we must also acknowledge that God moves through us in our actions in the world and the God dwells in us ready to be born in our lives each new day. Amen.