Slice of Life Tuesday 1:
God is a weighty word, isn’t it? Assuming there is God, does a word encapsulate the being? Three soft phonemes. No, I’d like to think, of course not.
I remember a conversation with a friend from high school. We were on the phone one night and he was buzzing on and on about how intricately complicated the world was…creation, suffering, greed, politics, the evolution of man, man-made religions, dogmatic hypocrisies. This was 16 years ago, but hopefully you get the gist. I listened as he spoke about energy, ego, destiny. I patiently heard him out as he continued…justice, power, motive. I really was listening. When he asked, “Well…What do you think?” I paused. “I think it’s quite simple really.”
Oh Lord. That set him off. He could not grasp how a mind could possibly ascertain that this world, this existence, life, destiny, journey, history could POSSIBLY be simple.
“God is love,” I replied. I couldn’t express it any differently, and quite honestly, I truly do not think it needed more explanation. Due to the fact that I was conversing the topic with him, in particular, I needed to elaborate for consideration’s sake. “I don’t believe it’s all that complicated, really. People complicate things, ego complicates things, as does greed and power, self- righteousness. But God, however you conceive the higher power to be, is inconceivable love. We need to love like God.”
My spirituality is at the core of my existence. It is my purpose. It guides my intention on this planet. It is not embodied in the church I was raised in, nor in the symbolic sacraments I made as a youth. My faith has been celebrated in such places and through such rituals. I have rejoiced, and praised in such a church, and found community in such a church, but that is not where my faith exists. My faith does not know four walls. It knows of no such ceilings.
My faith exists in the vastness of my heart, in all of my being and in all of my soul. It is reflected for all to see. It is reflected in kindness, in truth, and in the commitment to serve others. It does not exist in a name, in a theory, or in a group. I acknowledge that we are all participating in parallel, intertwined journeys; that community, culture, and ritual holds great significance in defining our identities as people. It doesn’t end there. I am here, on earth, for a purpose. To give, to sacrifice, to deconstruct, on my knees in service.
I trust in God that with hard work, compassion, and love, my purpose will be fulfilled. To make my will his own. I acknowledge that we are many, and that despite society’s attempt to create hierarchy, each human life holds value. Each is loved infinitely by God. Each person has the right to love, to commit.
Roughly 150 years ago people in this country owned slaves. Owned people, whom they abused, degraded, and dehumanized. Less than one hundred years ago, women did not have the right to vote. Roughly 50 years ago, men were not given the right to a fair trial, were lynched, because of the color of their skin. It wasn’t until 1964 that schools actually spurred the civil rights act into action and desegregated schools. Isn’t that hard to comprehend? That such civil liberties were denied, on such extreme, inconceivable levels?
People complicate things. Greed, righteousness complicates things. But God? God is love. We are not here to judge one another, nor are we here to deny civil liberties that are granted as citizens of this country.
Is it simple?
It’s all relative, isn’t it?
In my adult life, things do seem complicated more often. That is, until I search my heart, restore my faith, and once again remember, God is love.
In my adult life, I wish more people cast down judgment, and searched for the same.
Is your faith more sacred than my faith?
Your skin more esteemed than my skin?
Is your gender more powerful than my gender?
Your God holier, stronger, or more absolute than my God?
Is your love worth more than my love?
Your commitment more sincere?
It’s that simple, really.