Who art in Heaven…

The summer of 1969 was like science fiction for me. We sat huddled around a little black and white television trying to grasp the notion that one of our fellow Americans was actually up on the moon walking around. My fascination had begun the previous Christmas as I stared at pictures of the Earth as seen from space for the first time. As astronauts wished us Earthlings a Merry Christams, I remember wondering “Where is Heaven?”  I could see the whole Earth hanging there in the blackness of space and there was nothing, and I mean nothing, nearby.

I had always imagined Heaven being up. And if someone died in Australia, their spirit would have to come to the northern hemisphere and then go up from there. So after seeing that little planet which Carl Sagan later referred to as a pale, blue dot,  just hovering there in the blackness of space, I was filled with both wonder and a bit of insecurity. Later, a well meaning adult told me  that Heaven was invisible–what did I expect?

The biblical word for heaven means literally “sky.” One online lexicon even includes the vast expanse of space in its definition. After months of looking and studying later in life, I realized that Jesus’ words about Heaven would have to suffice: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into human imagination the likes of what God has prepared. In short, if you can imagine it, that ain’t it!

When we pray, we need to let go of our child-like images of some white bearded old man on a great throne on top of a cloud. I don’t mean to suggest that all of us have a real picture like this in our minds when we pray, but simply that we to let go of the notion that we can imagine what the Creator is like, or where. Our attempts to define, categorize, imagine, quantify, locate, or any other way antropomorphize our God only hinder our belief and faith.

God is all around us, everywhere, all the time. You can have confidence that you are not ignored.


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Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm  Comments Off on Who art in Heaven…  
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Prayer: It’s Easier Than You Think!

Prayer is not a secret practice in some secret language. It is something to be employed and enjoyed by all of us.

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Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 8:38 pm  Comments Off on Prayer: It’s Easier Than You Think!  

Our Father…

Few things in life will make you notice the people around you as quickly as thinking you have something in common with them–you’re rooting for the same team, same NASCAR driver, same horse, whatever. It’s sort of like that with family. Family members disagree frequently, but take a family trip to an unknown place and something like an us-against-them mentality develops. We bond when there is something as simple as a common foe, or common goal, or something as lofty as a common destiny.  But the day to day grind, that boring commute, that twentieth trip to the copier, somehow tends to blur all that. We become isolated, compartmentalized, separated.

The first two words of the Lord’s Prayer adress that issue. As soon as we say Our Father we have connected ouselves to the rest of humanity. We could just as easily drop the human imagery of “father” and replace it with creator and the effect would be the same. Here we all are scurrying about this tiny blue planet as if what happens in our corner is all there is; as if hunger on the other side of the planet is of no concern; as if the slow destruction of our air and water is of little consequence; as if we’re in this by ourselves. We must never forget that everything touches everything else, including our lives.

When we finally see ourselves and our ancestry of humanity, the term Our Father becomes quite important. That guy who just flipped me off is my brother in a sense; that rude clerk is my sister; the starving children on those ubiqitous commercials could easily be my children under the right circumstances. And while saving the world is a bit of a task for me, treating like family the people with whom I cross paths  shouldn’t be such a chore.


Published in: on March 21, 2009 at 2:50 am  Comments Off on Our Father…  
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Published in: on March 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment