Father, ocean, air?

We’re made in God’s image

God is Light

God is the air I breathe

Recently I read this quote on someone’s blog:

“I’ve begun to think of God more like an ocean, and we are the creatures that live in that ocean. It created us, gave us life, surrounds us, protects us, provides what we need to thrive, sort of soaks in to everything we do, yet is apart from us…”

oceanMy first thought?  Oh gosh!  This person must be a bit on the new age-y side.  We Christians should not be thinking of God as an ocean.  Then, after I pondered it, I decided maybe I like that analogy.

I’ve been thinking about God lately, as in, what is he?  Like probably most who have spent ample years in the church, much of my thoughts have revolved around God being a father, therefore someone much like a man.  I am fortunate to have an excellent dad, and my husband is a great father to our children, so it’s not hard for me to think of God as a father.  But when I really apply my thinking skills, I realize God most likely is not a perfect version of my dad.  Despite how nice that seems, that means picturing God as a man, with arms and legs and an interest in sports.  And again, while I adore my dad, Almighty God has to be more than that, right?michaelangelo-painting-of-god

I read recently that people didn’t really begin depicting God as father until after Jesus came to earth.  And when I think about, that makes sense.  God is Jesus’s dad, correct?  Yet Jesus told us to pray:  Our father, who art in heaven……….  So, maybe we ARE supposed to refer to God in that manner.

But what about the God who followed the Israelites around the desert?  He moved in a cloud, or a cloud-like thing.  He wasn’t a person, so to speak, or anything like a person.  We are not clouds!  [obviously] How about the way he spoke to Moses?  He was in a bush, on fire.  How about in the creation story?  Before he begins, he’s hovering over what will become the universe.  It’s hard to picture a 5’10” man-shaped being doing this.

I don’t want to get super theological, because any good theologian would quite easily assess my thoughts as naive meanderings.  We’re taught to believe in the Trinity, right?  Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  God in three, with three distinct roles.   My husband has a Masters of Divinity from a seminary with a good reputation for being theologically solid.  I’ve picked up a few pieces of information along life’s journey, so I’m not coming into this blind.

So what am I getting at?  Lately I’m liking that I feel free to think of God has an ocean.  If you’ve ever swam in the ocean you realize you have little control, at least as compared to swimming in the YMCA pool.  It’s easy to get swept away.  It’s easy to surrender to the pull.  Unless you’re an excellent swimmer, you’re pretty much at the mercy of the ocean, especially if you’re way out in the deep.  Yet when you’re in the ocean, the water surrounds, soaks.  You can float.

lightI’m also happy to think of God as light.  Light like the sun.  Light that encompasses.  Light that warms.  I’ve always enjoyed sunshine.  Look at the title of my blog…..

I came across this entry on  Inner Peace.  It’s an Episcopal blessing, to be read by the priest at the end of a service:

May the nourishment of the earth be yours.
May the clarity of the Light be yours.
May the fluency of the sea be yours.
And may a slow wind work these words of love around you,
Like an invisible cloak to mind your life;
And may the blessing of God Almighty,
Eternal Majesty, Incarnate Word, and Abiding Spirit
Be with you now and forever.

An invisible cloak to mind your life.  What an interesting analogy!  God in the soil of the earth, God in light, God in the sea, God in the wind, God surrounding us, minding our lives.

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