Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Living God

I finally, after all these years, finally get that phrase. I have heard it all my life "The Living God" and absolutely had no idea what the preacher man was talking about. Or maybe I just didn't understand why he was using such jargon. The Living God. Like much of religious jargon it just doesn't resonate with me. "washed in the blood", "salvation", "all about the blood", etc. In my wesleyan view of God growing up, the view of God i received was usually about a loving god who was merciful and gracious and, well, fatherly. I had a good family life and that relationship was a healthy one for me so I identified well. however i understand many do not.
so i'm reading the old testament and i finally get it. the living god as opposed to all the fake, unreal gods that were made from a piece of wood or stone or iron or whatever. I always assumed that the other gods were considered real and that the statues or figures were representative. But it appears in the Old Testament that they would carve these things out of wood and actually pray to the object. The God of Abraham was The Living God, not of form, but a real God that could not be shaped or formed by a skilled craftsman. A really unique concept for the day. The irony is now how we today try to shape and form God for our own sense of who He is.
The conservative God. The liberal God. the vengeful jealous God. the merciful God. the all loving God. Our God. The God of the jews. The God of the Gentiles. The God of the Christians. The God of the New Covenant.
The only God. The Abrahamic God. The God of Jacob and Ishmael.
And I wonder about the Genesis story. Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel. Where did the wives come from. How did they propagate? Incest? Other people? If other people how did they get there?
Old testament tells of the Persians being very friendly toward the Jewish people. Totally opposite the stories of the Egyptians. What happened? Why were they so friendly and knowledgeable about the God of the Israelites? Did God talk to them as well? Could it be that God operates independant of the ways we think He sould operate? Does our doctrines and belief systems allow that The Living God can do as he pleases? Is our relationship with the Living God exclusive to the point that He cannot have a relationship with other people's in a fashion He so chooses?
Have we made for ourselves a graven image that we pray too that doesn't exactly represent the Living God?
Maybe, just maybe, God is much bigger than we think. Maybe he relates to other people in other ways. Maybe people along the way have kind of screwed up the revelation. Jeremiah 8:8 was quite interesting: “How can you say, We are wise,for we have the law of the LORD, when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?". Can we say that our experiences with the Living God are the only way that God can relate to the people's of the earth? That we have "the law of the Lord" when scribes pens have handled it falsely, got the story wrong, misinterpreted, or our thinking wasn't large enough too allow God to do as He pleases.
I think we should be careful to acknowledge The Living God as he is, and not an image we conjure up based upon our limited relationship with him that has been passed down through our faith system.
The body has many parts, so says Corinthians. Maybe the body is bigger than we thought, the parts just not part of our limited view of religion, but an overall larger view of a relationship the Living God has with his creation.
thoughts?
~npp

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