Someone asked me (well not just me, a group of us) to articulate how/why we believe in God. I am tired and it is a hard thing to articulate, but I will set down here what I said and try to start to polish it to understand it better. I think it was Elizabeth Adams St Pierre that said she only knew what she was going to say AFTER she wrote it. It’s a bit like that for me and this is my process for trying to understand my inner truth.
I think I will classify this as one of my “creeds”
I think my belief in Jesus is just me needing a framework for my belief in God
that is the framework I grew up with,
sort of the God-language that I am fluent(ish) in.
There is not rational reason to believe in God
I feel a presence
that is what a relationship is, a presence I can feel and trust
I need values and meaning to be fully alive
and sometimes struggle to know what they are
or define them.
People define them wrong, rules break down,
systems oppress someone
I need more
a presence I can trust
that will travel the beyond-ways with me
and love and trust me into
my better self.
God is “other” to me
so that I might not be God to myself
which would be narcissism
I find myself
in bouncing off an “other”
sometimes people are the “other” but also God
to remind me that the “other” is as great and greater than me
and reaching for me in love
to wrap me
my “self” is not all, is not the reason
but even my “Self” is also wrapped in the great love.
I know God.
I mean I know love.
I am loved.
I know the sight of the tawny eyes that make me feel tender
and I say “I am in love”
and I can ask all the texts in the world to explain this thing to me
can deconstruct and disbelieve
but I see the face, the smile
and I am in (human) love.
And that is what knowing boils down to.
I know the taste of mango.
I know the sweet and the sometimes too sour
and the inconvenience of skin and seed
and the pleasure/irritation of dripping
and the juice in a thirsty mouth
and the wrong season so I have apple instead.
There is reason, there is science
but that is not really how I know the curve and the scent
that is mango.
I see a man and I know he is the baby
that I used to watch breathing in joy and fear
that I used to hold close and allow to move away
that began words and thought I was everything,
then a person, an “other”.
I know the baby still in the man
but the baby is long gone
and I love the man the same and not the same.
The breath that meant love.
My cat purrs and I know her and she knows me.
My hand on her velvety fur brings the purr
and she is old
and she knows I am far from perfect
but also trusts that I will feed her,
she rarely reminds me.
I know she purrs not for any reason
but because we are together.
I know the velvety rose petal.
I know its caress and I know its fragrance.
Roses have thousands of petals and they curl and dry up and disappear
and I have to try to remember
to dead-head them.
If I pick a rose
and put in in a vase in my warm house
it will last a day perhaps
But the petal is fresh if I rub it, unless I crush it,
the rose smells like something I can’t prove.
And why does the scent of a rose
call to mind those eyes again?
Something like faith, making connections
that reason cannot sustain.
I would hope everyone feels some such thing.
The bible for me is not fact,
or rules for living,
or instructions or warnings.
It is a photo-album of
communities of God within my faith-family.
They got some stuff right and some stuff wrong.
And some of it I just plain wasn’t there and I don’t understand.
And then God comes along like a burst of music
through my head and echoing in my memory,
reverbating in my body, in my bones
making me dance and haunting me forever after.
Sometimes I get the moves or the rhythm wrong
or I strain to hear and miss my cue.
I hope the music is still moving me even then.
I hope but I can’t prove it.
Somewhere in my hope, my good intention
I must have been touched by God
I must be right
(not about the facts or the mechanics or to tear others down)
but right to live and move and have my being
coming to know GODDE.