Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name. Green pastures, still waters, my cup is overflowing.
There was a time in my life when I thought that one day in the future I should be able to describe and define God. It was an element of my faith walk which led me to believe spiritual maturity could be captured and confined in a treasure box of heavenly secrets and knowledge. When I had attained certitude in all things which previously were questioning and unknowing, I would then be a wise and ‘saved’ man of God.
Didn’t work that way, folks. Today I know less than I did yesterday and there are many more questions than answers. But, there is also comfort in knowing that the unknown is an integral part of the mystery which we call God. The ancient writings of Judaism recorded in the book of Exodus tell us that when Moses had a personal encounter with God emanating from a burning bush, Moses asked, “What shall I say is your name?” and the answer was, “I AM Who I AM.” (Exodus 3:14)
In my mind, that answer always seemed to be such an evasive response to a man as myself who wanted a definitive description or a name to use. Essentially God said to Moses and to me, “You don’t need to get so familiar with me as to think you have unraveled the mystery which I AM.” God, in Exodus 3, is a reassuring presence, not an identifiable entity.
I need to be satisfied with that. That reassuring presence is all I need to know. Maybe Jesus understood that presence in his life’s journey on earth. He referred to God as Father while living a life motivated by spiritual nobility more than absolute knowledge. He shared the essence of his faith in sayings and parables often confusing listeners who were not attuned to God as a spiritually reassuring Presence. If I were to ask, contrary to contemporary theology, what if Jesus was not on earth to establish a divinity demanding worship and adoration upon his death? Rather, what if he lived to present to humanity nothing more than an example of life dedicated to service and humility?
Fr. Richard Rohr in his daily blog commented,
“No one owns him (Jesus), and no one ever will.” cac.org
As an American, as a white man, as a Christian I need to be extremely careful what image I impose upon Jesus. I need to eat some humble pie when thinking that I know everything there is to know. I will never fully know the beauty of Jesus or the identity of God because I am still a broken vessel struggling to fathom the depths of God’s presence and Jesus’ soul. All I can do is aspire to a fuller acceptance of and surrender to the universal mystery known as God, my reassuring Presence.
Jesus is attributed with the words of Matthew 7:7 that we should keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking and we will receive what we are asking and find what we are seeking. The doors in front of us will open. Beyond those doors will be more asking, more seeking and more doors to open. If I should think that I have arrived, that I have the answers, that all the doors have been opened, then I, in my errant theological certitude, shall have strayed from the purpose of my own spiritual quest. Matthew 7:7