God’s face has changed for me over my lifetime. I was given as a child the image of the Great Jehovah, the almighty judge and slayer of heathens. A sky God who was ruthless with unbelievers and demanded the death of whole peoples who did not bow to his might. A God that can be painted still today with the selective palette of literal hue from the legends and stories of the Iron Age tribe of Israel and the zeal of less discerning disciples both old and new.
I feared this God with a cowering fear. I feared even more his sidekick the devil; who I was told lurked in every shadow waiting to pounce on those who were faithful. It took me until my teenage years to realise that I was in a lose, lose position here, so I rebelled as every healthy teenager should and went off to be a hippy.
It was at the birth of my first child that I began again to question. Birthing a human being is an overwhelming miracle who’s after birth demands an exploration of questions on life and death of meaning and purpose. I remember standing knee deep in nappies and praying, ‘If you are there then you show me the way to find you, if you don’t then I accept your non existence’.
This began a long journey of discovery, an amazing inner dialogue and a complete transformation of experience that has brought me to this place, the place of knowing, the place that the mystics refer to as Oneness.
Now I can’t describe God, even the word God is too limiting, too loaded with old images and projections from humanity’s narrow vision, too laden with male perspective, too heavy with boundaries of fear and territory.
In this spiral journey of faith, I have discovered there are places beyond the boundaries of dogma and doctrine where I learnt more of the vastness of love’s being. It seems that the more deeply we seek, the more space we need. For many there comes a time when we can no longer be satisfied with receiving faith from another’s mouth, but need the freedom to explore, experience and expand into a vision of the divine that resonates with the view from the here and now; a horizon quite different from the one experienced from the hillsides and fields of a hundred years ago. Today our eyes see a new horizon where the fields are made of stars; millions of light years away and we ride waves into quantum oceans beyond our sight.
In all areas of life there has been a paradigm shift, the world grows smaller as we land in lands our forebears would never experience and communicate across oceans in seconds. Smaller still as we play and explore in the microcosmic world of quantum physics and wonder at the awesome vastness of the universe. In my own lifetime our understanding of life has exploded into new imaginings that can no longer contain the narrow, tribal projection of a God who is residing in some other land, separate and capriciously demanding our allegiance.
Like many today I chose a pathway , lined with constant questioning, covered with manmade briars that I needed to disentangle. When I had fought through the should knots and cut through the threats, I found a way, revealed by wisdom through a carpenter centuries ago and re- discovered that just as Christ revealed, God is Love: a love which moves the stars and the planets, a mysterious and intimate love beyond the human imagination, closer to us than our own breathing, waiting to transform our water into wine.