From “Learning to pray:” “[T]he most common mistake I observe in other folks’ prayers [is] an assumption that God is distant and apart from human beings.”
My belief is at the opposite extreme.
On the one hand, God’s omnipresence means that God is fully present to every cubic centimeter of empty space, to every atom and electron of your being.
If, as I believe, God is All — which must be so, if God is infinite, since if God is truly infinite there cannot be any thing that is not part of God — then every speck of matter that exists is actually part of God.
On the other hand, by that same logic, one must conclude that you yourself are part of God also. As Alfred Tennyson (quoted by Ambrose Worrall in “Meditation and Contemplation”) put it, “Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.”
When God made human beings in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27), God must have imbued us with certain attributes like unto God’s own. These would include free will; autonomy (self-rule); and capacities for thought and emotion. As God is infinite, so also each of us is infinite (though not like God, since none of us is All; the correct term would be “transfinite.”).
As God is creative, so are we. By virtue of being part of God, we are actually co-creators with God. Our present acts determine the future.
The question is, what are we creating?
Recalling the passage from Emmet Fox quoted last week, to use perhaps an oversimplified dichotomy, we may be creating either prosperity (shalom) or need. This corresponds roughly to the dichotomy between darkness and light in the Gospel and Epistles of John; to Moses’ dichotomy of life and death in Deuteronomy 30:19 (“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life …”); and, though I don’t like the flesh-vs.-spirit language, Paul’s dichotomy between “works of the flesh” and “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:
19Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. … 22By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
Note that Paul treats the various emotions mentioned, as acts, creations.
In Mark 7, the Pharisees become indignant that Jesus’ companions don’t wash their hands before eating bread. (The word “bread” is present in the Greek in both places.) Their hands are “defiled.”
14 Then [Jesus] called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’*
17When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. 21For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
In other words, the various feelings Jesus mentioned in verse 21 are emotional excrement, spiritual poop.
I am convinced that whatever we create in spirit eventually appears in matter. This is prayer.
Sometimes materialization occurs quickly.
From Chaos Overwhelms the Poor: “A walk through the ‘hood is disheartening for anyone. There are the boarded-up houses. Alleys are not just strewn with trash, but also reek of garbage and of human excrement in both forms. …
“Then there is the continuous stream of filth that comes out of some people’s mouths.”
The people live in circumstances of their own creation.
People can learn to create better circumstances for themselves and others.
Changing direction, however, means getting ahold of the wandering will; and the surest, or only, way I know to accomplish that is the path of presence.
RELATED: “I really have nothing better to do”
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This is the third in a series of five posts:
“Just how bad do you think you’ve got it?” – May 10
The Life Force: Use and abuse – May 17
Co-creators with God – Today
The wandering will – May 31
The path of presence – June 7