God’s Name – November 20, 2013
I can not remember how the concept of God was first introduced to me. Sometimes….. I think I came into the world knowing and loving God. What I do remember is a teaching from the Baltimore Catechism that says, “God is everywhere, in everyone and in everything.” This principal has driven and guided my life in ways that sometimes is beyond words.
I’ve heard some people describe themselves as recovering Roman Catholics. Many say that they developed a guilt complex from the teachings but I personally don’t feel that way. Instead I am grateful for the foundation of faith and truth that was taught to me at a very young age. Not only was I born with a deep faith in God but I also was given the ability to take what I like and leave the rest. I learned that there is always more to learn and that in this life I will never have all the answers and neither does anyone else, including the Catholic Church.
When I was led to and chose to practice my faith in the Presbyterian Church I did not feel guilty about my decision. I trusted that God knew best and I’ve never regretted my choice. I felt that God led me every step of the way. Likewise, later in life when I was ministering in an interfaith tradition, that looked for the common tread of truth in each religion I did so confidently and without any guilt at all and in fact it warmed my heart because at some level I always knew and believed there was a common truth.
During those many years I thrived and my faith grew and so did my relationship with God. In fact it was in this tradition that Christianity came alive for me with a deeper understanding that there is one God known by many names. I learned that God doesn’t care what we call Her, what we call Him. I like to think of God as Mother/Father God and often pray that way. I also discovered the concept of Christ Consciousness. Christ Consciousness was released when Jesus died on the cross and resurrected on the third day. He sent the Holy Spirit to live and thrive through each and every person on earth, Jesus for me lives today in me and in you and wants to use each one of us to work together to bring the realization of heaven here and now.
I realized that…Christ Consciousness is in every person, place, thing, situation or circumstance, no matter what it looks like and that Christ Consciousness is there waiting for us to turn within and connect and work together for the good of all. The Holy Sprit does not force itself on us. Free will is ours forever, for good or not. I believe that Christ Consciousness can also be called Buddha Consciousness, Allah Consciousness, Krishna Consciousness. Remember there is only one God known by many names. Religion for me is a cultural thing. I believe that God meets each and every person right where they live in a way that speaks to their hearts if they are willing to stop, look and listen.
Now I did not start out with a strong prayer life in place as a young person but, I do remember talking with God when I was afraid, worried or anxious. These prayers help me to adjust to whatever was going on in my life and as time went by my prayer life grew and changed.
Today I still talk to God and pray in many different ways. Sometimes I say formal prayers, Sometimes I pray the Rosary. I’ve also memorized prayers and scriptures such as the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and the scripture from Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all ways acknowledge God and God will direct your path.” This practice helped me change my negative thinking and even kept me from acting on my food addiction.
Over the years one of the most important disciplines, I learned and developed through my experiences in the interfaith tradition was meditation. This was not an easy discipline for me to practice. There was a time when I could not sit still for even five minutes without a lot of pain and uncomfortableness. With time, determination, a lot of support and regular practice I now crave that time alone in the quiet and do my best to practice every day. For me meditation is the highest form of prayer. In meditation I believe we are ministered to in a way that is not possible at any other time or in any other way. Learning to sit watching our thoughts go by and eventually subside and even stop briefly is what Deepak Chopra calls the gap. I believe that in this gap the Holy Spirit comes in and ministers to us. Sitting in the quiet waiting, watching and surrendering to process for me gives the Holy Spirit permission to transform me from the inside out.
I’ve learned that a spiritual life is not about keeping the rules and laws. In fact I just recently was delightfully shocked to see in I Corinthians 15:59 that St. Paul says that “The power of sin is the law.” WOW that makes sense to me. St. Paul also admits to how he has difficulty keeping the law boy I relate to that…..Here’s our challenge, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” The law has a purpose and Jesus came to fulfill that purpose and now wants to fulfill those laws through us. These laws and truths are already within our heart of hearts… that place where we are one with God. Our work and God’s desire is for us to develop a relationship with God and let God guide us through all that we do. Prayer and Meditation is the only way I know to have a personal relationship with God. We must talk with God and we must listen for the still small voice within that is ready to guide and help us with everything we do, so that together we can fulfill Jesus’s purpose on earth.
Today I know that without God I am nothing. Today I know that I live and breath and have my being in God. I know that God is closer to me than my breadth and I truly know that God loves me just the way I am. I’m grateful to say that I’ve experienced in all areas of my life that “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 15:26.
I ask God to help me do everything, and when I don’t ask it’s because this principal is so much a part of who I am it is a given for me that God will help me. I do my best to live my life from that place. I know today I am God’s hands and feet, God’s tongue, God’s life here on earth and I do my best to live my life in such a way that God’s purpose is fulfilled here on earth, one step at a time, one day at a time filled with grace, love and joy and I pray that all I do glorifies our Lord’s Name. Amen!!!