Tuesday 27 October 2009

What God Does.

Last October I took part in a week of guided prayer in Warwick Chaplaincy and I became very aware of something. With prompting from Steve my prayer guide, I thought back to my times sitting in the woods, or on the train or anywhere else where I was just watching the world go by. I spoke of these times as times of great contentment at just being within the world. I also told him about my great sense of the presence of God at these times. He asked me about what I thought that God was doing at these times, or how he was looking at me. The answer was that God was just watching.

When I was sitting there watching the world, it was a very special moment, for I was still and complete, for I am whole in the world when nothing is wrong that I can or must affect. It is a way in which I feel the goodness which underlies reality and that I could abide forever in that moment in perfect contentment, if that moment would just remain. So God was watching the world as well.

Like when I sat and looked down the valley behind my house. I sat on the grass in a warm summer, looking down the valley, past the golden and brown fields and trees and watching the sun go down behind the treetops. I watched this happen and drank in the beauty of it and I has the most incredible sense of watching it with God and of him watching it to, and appreciating it to, for he need do nothing but watch, and sharing this beautiful vision of what he had created.

I realised that I saw a piece of beauty, unique in the history of the world and the Universe, and I realised that no-one but me saw it, no-one but me and God. I realised that he must see this beautiful sunset every day, every day a little different, and that most days he saw it alone, unseen and unappreciated by anyone else. But this day he shared it with me, and I felt that God smiled, and that I was supremely honoured to share this moment where I was experiencing the pleasure of a maker at the success and unveiling of the beauty of the thing he had made. Like the pride of a parent at their daughter’s wedding, or their graduation from University. Love mingled with pride and the one reinforcing the other.

Thinking about this time I think that this is what God always does. He watches and waits for the time to come and sometimes he watches beauty and sometime he does not, but always he watches, and when the times is right he acts and he is working his purposes out from year to year. I had never thought about what God does with the world when he is not dealing with people, with thinking beings. What did he do in the aeons before the founding of the world. The answer, I think, is very simple, he watched.

God in the Bible and in the experience of my heart is not a God of many words. In the Bible God never uses ten words where one would do. I admit that this is not always true. God’s silence is broken by action, and powerful action to, and speech. In Jesus, God spoke at length but still the Gospels leave the feeling of so many words unspoken, so many parables we wish could be more completely explained, so many pages that could be in there.

Furthermore, my own explorations have led me into the search for stillness, in being able to move with rather than against the universe and God’s truth and the nature of what is valuable. It is a feeling of seeking a Taoist-like harmony with the universe, in Christian terms being in perfect obedience with the will and intentions of God. This is in terms of harmony and an important part of that harmony is both inner and bodily stillness and watching and waiting and acting when it is needed. In Taoist terms, doing by not doing. Actions, and powerful actions, puncture silence and watching. It is impossible, however, to underestimate the importance of watching and listening, and experiencing, for to do such a thing is to drink in the world as it moves around you.

Neither does it have to be contrary to God’s ever-activity and care. It is the nature of things that God pervades all. God acts constantly, both in his intercession in the world and through the constant over-flow of his Love into the world, that we call Grace. However, in any particular strand of existence, viewing any particular slice of time, looking at all the places in the cosmos, overwhelmingly in terms of their number God watches and does not directly act, although still his love and compassion overflow, as we know that we can merely watch someone and yet still our love and care can flow onto them.


Anonymous said...

I love reading an article that can make men and women think.
Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

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