Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Experience Of God

Even though there were a few brief moments yesterday where I felt like I was experiencing the China Syndrome within myself, I am not really going to talk about that. However, for those that are not familiar with the China Syndrome, it is when a nuclear reactor is overheating and beginning the meltdown process. When I started feeling the heat of the workday, I simply followed some of my own advice and took a short walk in the sunlight with the cool air of a February afternoon blowing on my face. The catastrophe was avoided and I have lived to see another day.

What is the experience of God like? One of the best descriptions I have ever heard is that it's like a face to face encounter in the dark. Everything you have ever heard about God or tried to express about God is an analogy. No one can say anything about God that doesn't begin with "God is like......" We like to believe that all the warm fuzzy feelings we may experience in church or in prayer are God. In most cases those feelings can be attributed to an overheated room. You can never really judge the experience of God. Sometimes when God seems very far away, He/She is closest. I wish we had a pronoun in the English language that wasn't masculine or feminine and could be used for God! Actually, regardless of how we may feel, God is always present. He/She is never far away. How do I know this? I don't know this in any intellectual way. I can't explain God or prove the existence of God but I believe there is a God. Like everyone else who ever tried, I can only describe my own experience of God in analogies. There have been fleeting moments in my life where I believed the presence of God was so strong that it made me think of the poetry of the 16th century Spanish mystic, John of the Cross, when he said, "Break the web, O Lord, of this sweet encounter"! It's the feeling that you must either die or be thrown back into your life. The experience of God is like looking at the sun. You can only take it for a moment or you'll go blind. Well, I'm not sure how I went from the China Syndrome to the experience of God but I guess they're not as different as they seem. I guess if we're going to meltdown, it should be from the experience of God and not the demands of a workday.

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