G-d is a smörgåsbord of schizophrenic imagery. From the traditional, doctrinal, and comfortable images of teacher, creator, Allah, redeemer, Father, Savior, sovereign, YHWH, sustainer, all powerful, and always present; to the feminizing and queer-izing and eroticizing, to the ethnicizing, universalizing, and every other “izing” of G-d.
G-d is in the laughter of a child, in the delicateness of a butterfly, in the embrace of a loved one, in the power of a hurricane, in the intricate crystal work of a snowflake, in the vast openness of the universe, and in a dying person’s last breath. The vastness of the Divine is more than what our traditions, doctrines, teachers, families, clergy, cultures, and society dictate to us. For if G-d is so awesome and beyond our understanding, than no one approach, picture, painting, statue, religious tradition, framework can truly ever envelop all that is G-d. For a time, I like many people tried to limit G-d to just one thing; however, as my faith was challenged and began challenging, I came to discover that by trying to fit G-d into a box I was contradicting the very notion of a limitless, infinite, and wowful deity. I came to embrace a G-d who was in contradiction, moved away from either/or to dwell in the both/and, who thrived in the inbetweeness of the marginalized and the grandiose. Even with all our faithful efforts, no one image captures the love…grace…power…joy…peace…and vast presence that is G-d and is in G-d.
Just as we are bombarded with multiple (at times conflicting) depictions of G-d, our persons are also inundated with images of being too tall, thin, fat, short, white, dark, plain, loud, or too much to handle. In this cacophony of visual messaging, we forget that we were created, molded, and woven together by G-d in G-d’s image and likeness. Therefore, we are all images of GOD—if we want to engage G-d, all we have to do is look around us and even risk catching a spark of the sacred when we look in the mirror.
It is easy to get lost in the sea of divine art and headiness of theological rhetoric, becoming overwhelmed and confused with which expression to ponder…meditate with…carry in our hearts. A simple remedy to overcome the overload…prayer. Prayerfully sit with the images and select the one that most speaks to your inner-most being…a crucifix, flower, music, the sacred religious texts, darkness. As our relationship with G-d evolves, grows, matures, and transforms, our images for G-d may change or may not…however, G-d does not change, for G-d always was, is, and will be present to us. It is this sacred yet confusing contradiction that we encounter faith, as we search for heartfelt and soul-filled ways to capture and express our limited understanding of G-d. Ignatius of Loyola invites us to find G-d in all things so that our whole life may be a constant, active, and lived prayer. There is no right…there is no wrong, only what stirs our soul and creates a window to glimpse into, bask in the presence of, wrestle with, chat and even challenge…ultimately, through our prayer and making presente the divine I am we open ourselves to love and be loved by the GOD who is reflected and revealed in all of creation—most importantly in both you and me, Amen.