There are many ways in which we can view God – of course! (Possibly as many different ways as there are people on this planet, given that we are – each of us – unique.) However, very often our prevailing image is of God at a distance. And the further away God seems to be, the more our image can become that of a someone who maybe is stern or judgemental.
If we turn that around, though, the question becomes – I wonder how God views us? IS God stern and judgmental towards us – after all, the Bible tells us in Genesis 1 that as God completed the work of creation, and looked at everything that had been made, God saw that it was good. By the time humankind appears on the scene (the sixth day of creation) God saw everything as “very good”. It could be fair to believe, therefore, that God looks with some degree of favour, or kindness on us.
I wonder if we could go further, and maybe imagine that God might – actually – enjoy us, for the people we have been created to be. And if we follow that line of thought, and turn it around the other way – I come to wonder whether, in fact, our response to God could also be one of enjoyment – that God enjoys us in some way, and we enjoy God in return – with
whatever that might mean.
I came across a poem this week written by Anne Sexton, from the end of a volume entitled ‘The Awful Rowing Toward God’, written as she was coming to a place of facing dying. The poem is entitled ‘The Rowing Endeth’. I loved the thought that we might find – in God – someone with whom we can play a game of poker, and have a good laugh.
I’m mooring my rowboat
at the dock of the island called God.
This dock is made in the shape of a fish
And there are many boats moored
at many different docks.
“It’s ok,” I say to myself,
with blisters that broke and healed
and broke and healed –
saving themselves over and over.
And salt sticking to my face and arms like
a glue skin pocked with grains of tapioca.
I empty myself from my wooden boat
and onto the flesh of The Island.
“On with it,” He says and thus
we squat on the rocks by the sea
and play – can it be true –
a game of poker.
He calls me.
I win because I hold a royal straight flush.
He wins because He holds five aces.
A wild card had been announced
but I had not heard it
being in such a state of awe
when He took out the cards and dealt.
As He plunks down His five aces
and I sit grinning at my royal flush,
He starts to laugh,
the laughter rolling like a hoop out of His mouth
and into mine,
and such laughter that He doubles over me
laughing a Rejoice-Chorus at our two triumphs.
Then I laugh, the fishy dock laughs,
the sea laughs. The Island laughs.
The Absurd laughs.