Saturday, October 15, 2011
THE FACE OF GOD
The Many Faces of God, Jamestown, NC
There’s an old story I’ve always liked that concerns the unfiltered innocence of a child in conversation with a seasoned adult. The young child is coloring away at a summer church camp when a discerning adult occasions by to critique her work. The adult quizzically asks, “What are you creating”? And the child enthusiastically answers, “I’m coloring the face of God”! The knowing adult wisely responds that no one has ever seen or knows what God looks like. And the child matter-of-factly says, “Well, they will as soon as I’m finished”!
I’ve read that some religions not only forbid any attempt to create an image of God, but they forbid people to even write or speak a name for our creator. I can understand how this kind of thinking would evolve in human understanding. After all, the divine spiritual being that created this universe and all of us human beings in His own image also is a being that scripture tells us is omnipresent in all of this creation. That would take a verrrrrrry wide angle camera lens to capture, let alone a canvas from here to eternity. Old Testament accounts of interactions between men and God included warnings of instant death if they directly gazed upon His being. But we’re also told in the scriptures that our all powerful God has the ability to manifest His presence in any way He chooses; like pillars of cloud and fire that led the ancient Israelites through the desert to their promised land. He also walked this earth over two thousand years ago in the flesh of a human and spiritual being named Jesus to intimately experience human existence and teach us once and for all how to live.
I’ve been intrigued for some time now about what a spiritual being of this magnitude could possibly look like if His presence is not only teeming in the very rooms we occupy, but in the entire universe He created. I’m pretty sure that may remain one of those divine mysteries we won’t understand in this mortal life, but just might be revealed to us in the next spiritual world. I suspect many folks have an image of God from Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and Jesus never sat for a portrait for good reason. In the meantime, since God is present in all of His creation, I’ve come to believe through my own personal experience that our creator is revealed to us in every brilliant sunrise and sunset and that the ancient wisdom that teaches, “if you have looked into the glory of a blooming flower, you have looked into the face of God”, is quite plausible with the right attitude and mind set. The words to the contemporary Christmas song “Mary Did You Know?” immediately caught my imagination the first time I heard the words, “Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? When you kiss your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God”. That may actually be the gift of every new mother on the planet.