School is back in session at the parish where I, Orin, am music director. Sometime near the beginning of each school year, we gather the entire student body, PreK-8th Grade, in the Church to go over some music that we’ll be using at some upcoming Masses; that day this year was this past Thursday afternoon, at 2pm. One of the songs we eventually practiced was “Our Hope, Our Everything” which we mentioned here recently.
But, long before that, I had a brief conversation with one of our new PreK students. They were first to arrive in Church, as they are still learning how to get from place to place, how to behave reverently in Church, etc. So, while waiting for the other students to arrive I sat down next to one young girl. She looked up to me and quite matter-of-factly asked me, “Are you God?”
There was no particular sense of awe in her voice or on her face; she didn’t seem scared, curious, bewildered, or any other particular adjective. It just seemed like someone, a parent or a teacher probably, had told her something like “Church is God’s house,” and, well, there I was. “Are you God?”
“No,” I answered, “I’m not God.”
“Well, where is God?” she continued.
I tried to start answering, after a moment’s thought, with how God is everywhere, in everything God ever created… But then a boy in the class, a couple seats down, pointed up to the large crucifix mounted on the wall. “That’s God, up there!” he exclaimed.
At that point, the PreK teacher walked past. “Yes, Jesus is God,” she said, on her way to attend to another student’s needs, “but we’ll get into that later on…”
There’s quite a lot, for further reflection, that we could pull out of these few moments of my Thursday afternoon last week, but I’d like to focus on these few.
1 – Often, when Oddwalking, Shannon and I reference the familiar Gospel passage where Jesus tells his disciples, “Let the children come to me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to ones such as these.” (We even have a song – and a 10 year old video – about it.) And, we often talk about how the kingdom of heaven demands powerlessness from each of us – full reliance on God. It also asks us, sometimes, to approach God the way the young lady did. It’s good of course to have a sense of awe and respect and wonder in the presence of the Lord – but only so much. If we only every see our God as Creator, Universal Ruler, and Almighty and Powerful Master – but never as parent, brother, friend – then we limit who God is, ignoring much of who God has revealed to us that God is.
2 – Part of that revelation – the fullest revelation of who God is – is revealed to us in Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human, a sacrifice of Love to the point of death on a cross. Sometimes we consider Jesus Christ as but one of those at the expense of the other (see above) when it is of course most important that Jesus Christ was and is both of of those at the same time and through all time.
3 – The Holy Spirit which proceeds, we believe, from Father and Son (some say through the loving which flows between the two), permeates all of creation if we perceive the universe with eyes of faith. Can you see God in everything, asks a certain Jesuit spirituality.
So, while I am in fact not God – and neither are you – how is it that we approach God: is it with a childlike faith? How, when, and where are we aware of God, present in our midst? Are we aware, as best we can be, of the fullness of who God is, in each moment of our lives?