GOD’S “FACE”

The Old Testament asserts that we cannot “see” God’s face and live. (Exodus 33:20)

Paul, in the New Testament, however, says: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully even as I am fully known.” 1 Cor.13:12

How resolve this inter-testamental paradox?

I think the Old Testament was talking about “egos” – false selves that “die,” that is, become extinguished in any “direct” encounter with God. The New Testament, on the other hand, is talking about human beings who’ve been “born again” spiritually – when it becomes possible for a human spirit to actually engage with God’s Spirit directly because, qualitatively, and at the right place and right time, the two can overlap.

Even the briefest glimpse of God gets us “soaked” by Joy –

If God is Love, then, when we’re loving, even if only for a moment,
That’s when we experience God –
Not as a matter of belief, but of lived life.

Love is the aspect of God that resides inside us (Immanent) while Truth is the aspect of God that’s found outside us (Transcendent).

Experiencing the joy of God as a holy fountain inside us –
While having faith in a transcendent God
Who gifts us with significance, context, and meaning –

Turns out to be Heaven for most human beings!

THE PURE OF HEART

“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall “see” God.” (Mathew 5:8)

What does it mean – to be “pure of heart”?

I think it means to live without ego
So that nothing can interfere with in-coming reality –

The kind of “reality” that overlaps with a true experience of God.

That’s what “enlightenment” also is –
What happens when one wakes up from egoistic fantasies and dreams
Into the daylight of reality.

A heart that’s not pure is like a little red engine
That is perpetually manufacturing dreams for the ego “self.”

A heart that’s pure, however, “sees” reality
Which is what God wants –
In other words, God constantly encourages us to see God’s face
Which we now know is identical with reality!

NO EXCUSE

We can encounter God as “revealed”
Anytime we’re out in nature
(To mystics known as God’s “Back”).

To see God’s hidden “Face,” however, takes a pure heart, courage,
And an intense love.

Looking at God both ways allows us to experience God whole – that is, as “Holy” –

And there’s really no excuse for our not doing that.

BLIND TO BEAUTY

If God is truly beautiful, then what does that say about North American Christianity
Other than it must be blind –
Or, maybe, stubborn – simply refusing to open its eyes?

Where are the colorful flowers Hinduism loves so much
Except for some seasonal displays of white Easter lilies?

Maybe the Protestant North, given its weather,
Simply can’t find enough red, orange and gold flowers to decorate its churches –
The skies too overcast to provide a wider spectrum of Nature’s beauty.

Well, snow is beautiful –
So why not pray whenever it snows – absorbed in its purity?

When snow arrives, it’s kind of magical,
And peaceful.

If we’ve been driven inside by the cold weather
Why not bring fire along with us –
Candles and a glowing hearth for light and warmth –
Perhaps we should even consider celebrating Christmas all winter long!

So here’s the problem –
North America is constructed like a cash register –
Filled with money and metal drawers –
But is rarely appreciated for being beautiful – since it really isn’t –
Expensive, yes – too often; but, beautiful, no.

As a result, our local crafts have been dying off over time
(starting shortly after the Native Americans were separated off from the rest of us) –
With individual-made clothes, home furnishings, and design –
All machine-made –
Which has steadily been removing human-designed beauty
From our lives over several generations now –
(of course only for the best economic reasons).

As a consequence, we have been losing
All artistic crafts hand-made by human beings –

One item at a time.

Nature also has become separated from our day to day lives – especially in the cities –
We can still experience God, though, when looking at Nature
(spiritually, the “Back” of God) –
But no longer have the capacity to discern God’s “Face”
Which is simply too much for us to handle at this historical moment.

Listen, no one can ever buy God, no matter what they think –
All the money in the world only makes whatever’s being purchased even less holy –
Less likely that you’ll ever be able to discover the secret of God’s joy
Hidden deep inside your heart.

Actually, I now wonder whether we’ll ever be willing to accept
Any direct, or even indirect, gifts from God
Again.