God is like a Kiss

Physicist Carlo Rovelli says, “Reality as science observes it today is more like a kiss than a rock.” Maybe it is just the romantic Italian heart in Rovelli or maybe he is on to a truth that is ancient and new.

Jesus’ core teaching was to “Love God with your whole heart, and mind, and soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. In one sentence, Jesus summed up that all reality is interaction.

Carol Rovelli helped me to see this more clearly.

Physicists study how the world works and why it works the way it does. Where once they surmised that all reality is matter, later concluded that all reality is energy, now scientists speak of reality in terms of relational fields. “The smallest particles that make up all we see are best described in terms of their relationship rather than as objects.”

For example, we look at a rock and see a thing. Carlo Rovelli looks at a rock and sees a happening. Reality is interaction; an object is a complex happening.

This is an ancient new way to view God. God is in a fluid relationship with all that is. The doctrine of the Trinity explains this long held belief.

So often we think of God as a knowable object. However, it is that very thought that keeps us from the truth. God is relational. God is a verb. Always happening. Just as you are a complex set of biological, psychological, emotional, cultural interactions; you are “happening” in every moment. God too is a complex relational being; happening within every moment in every being.

Loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves is not to love objects that do not change, rather to be part of a dynamic interaction with being itself. God invites us to open up and welcome a dynamic presence that is happening. Loving then is not about objectifying someone rather it is about being interconnected with them.

God is happening, like a kiss, in every moment. Open to the presence of God in every moment in every being. Our interconnected life is unfolding always in the merciful, loving. always present God of our creation.

Awaken the Inner Ear

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;*
he restores my soul.*
He leads me in right paths*
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,*
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely* goodness and mercy* shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.*

Line by line this well- known Psalm gently awakens the inner ear and tunes me into the heart of God. If it were the only scripture I ever knew it would be enough to guide me to listen to the still small voice of well- being within.

However without the invitation, I would not listen on my own.

There is simply a lot of distracting noise. The assertive external world along with our busy interior muffles the voice that guides us to health and salvation.

Yet, when I read the lines of this Psalm something deep within awakens. The green pasture, the still waters and the path the Psalmist refers to are God in us. Waiting for our assent to follow where he leads below the mind’s busyness and the emotionality of our existence into the spacious spiritual heart.

The open field within silently awaits our arrival.

I create a lot of inner noise for myself. My monkey mind swinging from thought to thought, my busy ego assessing, comparing, and judging either insecure or striving does not stop. It is like a big city that never sleeps. The noise within muffles the voice of sanity.

I recently learned the root of the word noise is nausea. I interpret that etymology as a warning that I will get sick without the healing sound of silence.

As I see our culture, we are sick from our over busy lives run by our unconscious fears and overactive sense of self importance. We need a cure.

Surrender is the unspoken theme of this Psalm; written by someone who relented and finally listened. Pain is part of life they say but suffering is optional. The Psalmist no doubt suffered as we do; trying to fix a broken life, change others, fight fears, and pick herself up on her own. The Psalmist let down his defense and finally listened.

When we surrender to God and listen for truth hidden in our being our spiritual heart awakens. In those blessed still moments we find the enemies who are at us needling all day sit down at a dinner table, soothing fragrant oil pours over our being and we hear the melodious sound of Mercy.

Psalm 23 invites us to trust the sound of our own inner voice as the voice of God. If we listen below the noise, there is something trustworthy. The Caretaker of our souls speaks wisdom into our reality. And we can trust where we are led if we will only listen.

Wake Up

On Ash Wednesday Christians unite to take part in a liturgy that is filled with tension between life and death. In a world that works vigorously to defy and deny death; thousands of people will fill churches the world over to listen to the words “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” spoken over each and every one of them.

These words expand the horizon of our listening beyond daily matters into the whole being of our lives. Like the sound of a ram’s horn calling ancient people to prayer, the reminder of our death quiets the relentless noise of living.

Listening is more than hearing when we are listening for God. The deepest form of listening is not with our ears at all, it is with our heart. We are listening below the noise, under our busy thinking planning minds, and between the words we are hearing and saying.

The Bible says to listen with the ear of the heart.

Often during Lent we are supposed to give up something for forty days, but what if this Lent instead of giving up candy or caffeine you decided to stop and listen to the silent divine one within you and surrounding you. What if this year listening to God is your discipline?

Silence is God’s primary language. And quickly becoming an endangered part of our world. Where once humans had no electricity, no radio, television or internet; now we live among infinite distractions from simple being in silence.

What have we lost? What could the people of God gain if we created space to be in silence each day?

“Wake up before death wakes you up”, the old monk said to the young man.

The life giving ways of God are discovered in silence. Even in ten minutes alone in the quiet, we can find what we need and seldom want; spacious sense of hope, interior strength and resiliency, wisdom beyond information, and peace beyond understanding. The benefits of the practice silence are many; tight conflicts relax, cruel self- talk quiets, endless list making ceases, and the spacious presence of God becomes real.

Silence is a form of dying that awakens us to new life.