Archive for Saturday, May 2, 2009

Faith Forum: How do you visualize God?

Transcendent spirit full of love

May 2, 2009

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The Rev. Peter Luckey, senior pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:

I see a Kansas sunset. I take in the fragrance of blooming lilacs. I feel a child’s hand holding my own. And I marvel: the mystery, the wonder of it all, existence itself. Why is there something rather than nothing?

I conclude: God is

However different our words used to visualize God, however varied our religious traditions, there is much uniformity on this point: There exists a reality beyond this world, there is a “More,” a mystery, a holiness that lies underneath the surface of all things.

From time immemorial, we humans have insisted that the ultimate and transcendent — called variously God, Nirvana, Brahman or the sacred — cannot be defined in words, and yet we habitually try.

Two-thousand, seven-hundred years ago, the Prophet Isaiah had a vision. He “saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim, and each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew ...” Isaiah 6:2

In the path of the spiritual giants before us, we too allow ourselves a poetic license to express what is fundamentally inexpressible.

Awe, Wonder, Mystery, Stillness and Peace point toward that Name that is above all names. When I pray I sometimes imagine a human face. It is the face of love.

— Send e-mail to Peter Luckey at peterluckey@sunflower.com

Full nature of God beyond description

Kent Winters-Hazelton, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway:

Prior to coming to Lawrence I lived in two ocean communities, one on the West Coast (San Francisco) and one on the East (East Hampton, N.Y.) I took advantage of my living situation and began most mornings with a run or long walk on the beach. Each day I did that, I was struck by how much the beach changed from day to day — and sometimes even within the day. One of the phrases I have used with congregations as we discussed the nature of change in our culture and our lives is, “Every wave, a new beach.” That image came alive during these daily jogs along the ocean’s edge.

One day the size and intensity of the waves would be fierce and pounding and the next little more then a small ripple on a smooth surface. Pools of shallow water formed small lagoons which existed for a day or two and then disappeared. The density of the sand underfoot made it easy to sprint one day and was heavy, loose and impossible the next.

For me, this daily encounter with the changing power of nature provided a rich visible impression of the invisible presence of God. The full nature of the Holy One is beyond our description or vision. We seek ways to make the ineffable something to hold on to and understand and experience. I sense the holy in our world to be a creative and recreating force, much like the pounding surf and shifting sand. Here lies a resounding hope and renewal for our lives, our relationship and within creation itself. God is active and at work.

— Send e-mail to Kent Winters-Hazelton at fpcpastor@sunflower.com.

Comments

WHY 6 years, 1 month ago

I visualize god the same way I visualize my imaginary friend. I just give him whatever attributes I would like best and remove all the attributes I dislike. This is why my imaginary friend looks different than yours.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 1 month ago

I have never felt the need to visualize God.

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