A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Meditation Moment in Lent ~ Day 23: Give Up, Take On, Pray


Just as how we conceptualize God affects what we think the Christian life is about,
so do our images of God.

~ Marcus Borg* 1942-2015           

    Have you ever thought about what your image of God is? There have been lifelong influences, some more unconscious than others. In your mind does he look like the illustrations in Children's Bibles, photos of Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, the ultimate grandfather or, the ultimate disciplinarian? What about Jesus as a sun-tanned, blue eyed European with long flowing locks sun-kissed by expensive-looking highlights or a middle eastern semite, a young Jewish man from Palestine?  And, the Holy Spirit ~ an upside down white dove? 
    Of course it's easier to relate to and feel comfortable with someone we can picture in our minds. Have you ever had the experience of meeting up with a friend from childhood or schooldays ~ you have that old photo in your mind and suddenly you're confronted with the reality.  Perhaps it all works fine or perhaps the memory and the reality are difficult to mesh. Just as we watch children grow from newborns, to toddlers, older children, teens, young adults...and just as we sometimes want to hold on to them at a certain moment in time, it's important for our relationships with them to grow and allow who they become to deepen our bonds. 
    Obviously, we don't have the luxury of knowing what God looks like ~ and if we did, would it be God? ~ but we can look at how or if our early ideas about the image of God have or have not evolved and what that means to us about the maturity of our faith. 
     Sr. Sandra Schneiders, IHM, STD, Professor Emerita of New Testament Studies and Christian Spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley has said, God is more than two men and a bird. 
    Has your Trinity ever looked like two men and a bird in your mind's eye? How does your current mind's image affect your prayer, your relationship, your sense of who God is in your life?

Dear God,
       I'm concerned that I might have the wrong image of You in my mind. I want so much to capture the right picture of You in my imaginings ~ all of You, the Trinity ~ God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, so that I can feel that I'm relating to You correctly. And yet somehow that doesn't seem quite right, either.  Well then, for today I'll give up trying to apply and accept someone else's image of You. I'll take on thinking about how I am made in Your image rather than You being made in my image. I'll pray for the security and  spiritual freedom to let You out of the box I keep trying to keep You in. And as I mature in my relationship with You, perhaps I will be able to realize that all I need to do to know You in my mind and heart and soul, is to look in the mirror and at all those I meet daily and then I will see the faces of My Trinity.  amen.

*Marcus Borg, was a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, and the first person to be designated as Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University. Educated at Moorhead College in Concordia, Minnesota; Union Theological Seminary, in New York City; he also earned a Masters degree in theology and a Ph.D. at Mansfield College, Oxford, England. A progressive Christian with a significant record of scholarship and research on the Historical Jesus, a prolific author and lecturer, and known internationally through videos, lectures, and television, Borg was a frequent collaborator with other theologians with whom he both agreed and disagreed. He remains one of the most recognized and influential theologians of today. Two of his best known works are Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & The Heart of Contemporary Faith; and, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally

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