Thursday, November 12, 2009

How God Is too Ordinary and too Extraordinary

I think God is much more of a concrete thinker than we are.  We have a lot of grand ideas in the abstract.  God's ideas are much grander than ours, but sometimes I think they catch us completely by surprise because they are so concrete, and sometimes seem so ordinary.

I think of the Jews waiting for the Messiah. They imagined a great and powerful king.  What they saw instead was a man.  An ordinary man, the son of a carpenter and his wife.  A man who lived among them much like any man would.  Some came to recognize the astounding truth about this man that went far beyond their wildest imaginations about the Messiah.  I always have some sympathy for those that didn't recognize Him, though.  Outwardly He was so much less than they expected, and in reality He was beyond their wildest expectations.  I mean, they knew that the Messiah would be a great man, but did they realize that He would be God? They knew the Messiah would be establishing a kingdom, but did they realize it wasn't some political kingdom, but the kingdom of heaven for all eternity?

What about the miracles?  I have already told you that I have sort of an abstract idea about miracles.  I have this feeling that they should come out of nowhere and be explainable by nothing.  Yet I do believe that God often works His miracles through other people.  I may not like to call them miracles, but sometimes they are.

The sacraments.  Now there's an example of a God who thinks more concretely than I do.  God can give the grace of Christ crucified any way He wants.  I think that He certainly does give His grace to us at all times and in all ways, but I also believe that He gives His grace to us in a special way through the sacraments.  By the work of the Holy Spirit, we are born again of water and the Holy Spirit.  Could our re-birth really come about through the use of ordinary water?  Could the forgiveness of our sins come through the priest?  Could bread become Jesus' very flesh?

I don't know about you, but when I think of "spiritual" moments, somehow I make them much more abstract in theory.  Maybe I think that they could be connected to concrete realities in a secondary way, but not in such a primary way.

Now let me ask you this.  Did you ever stop to think about Genesis 1:27?

"So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them."

We are made in the image and likeness of God.  God created us exactly the way He wanted us.  We are not just spirits, and we are not souls trapped in bodies.  We are people with a body and soul.  It is not just our soul that is created in the image of God.  Our bodies are an essential part of the image.  Our masculinity and femininity are an essential part of the image.  Our bodies, with all their flaws and imperfections, BO, extra hair where it doesn't belong, baldness, bulges, flatness, weird noises and all, is an essential part of the revelation of God to those who will take the time to see it.

Praise God for JPII, who shared this vision with the world.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. Although, I would REALLY like to see a post where you explain how God is revealed in some of those awkward body things. :)