I was struck by Thurman’s line that “All events in life take place, somehow, within the divine context.”
Some people attribute everything to God and abandon any responsibility for the occurrence or for the correction of it or the healing from it. Yet, as Thurman goes one to say, we want to “fix responsibility”. If we can pin down whom to blame, he says, then we can attack and uproot ills. It assumes there is a “structure of moral integrity that undergirds all of life”. The things that happen in life are a part of some kind of rationale. (23)
And yet, when we can’t make sense of things that happen (it’s usually bad things we try to figure out the genesis of) we finally relinquish the search for logical explanation. We can live with this unresolved puzzle, perhaps maintaining an anger or a depression as a result of the event. Or, as Thurman suggests, we can try to “understand God’s understanding.” That’s a pretty tall order. Short of that, and perhaps comforting to some, we can “rest in the assurance of God’s Presence with us and in life” going on about us.
I know some folks, rather agnostic, who can not attribute our living to God. I certainly have, on occasional days, trouble with the whole God-package as relayed by the churches and the religion I’ve known. However, I am also able to remember, and even live anew somedays, in a space I ascribe to God’s Presence. I find it mostly on my yoga mat when my body and my mind align with breath to seek an internal awareness of the Divine. With that exercise, I yoke myself to the Holy One and try to see the world from that point of view. And I recall Psalm 139 that says we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I Feel Your Presence With Me (A reimaging of Psalm 139)
Mystical Creator, you formed me in the ancient days of love and harmony.
I faintly remember, in the lining of my soul, the tranquility that hovered there.
In the days of now, the days of rising and of not remedying yesterday’s sin,
The days of ignoring and denying my loose tongue and hurtful thoughts,
You know exactly where I am, when I sit and when I stand.
You know when I move forward for justice and when I stall with indifference.
You surround me with my better self, just beyond my own vision; but I feel it- that better self.
It is your presence with me that I feel and hear making its way through today’s noise to arouse my soul.
Where can I go from your presence since you formed me and have been with me since ancient days?
If I could run as a leopard, I couldn’t flee from your Spirit.
If I could shift and swing as a monkey I couldn’t out maneuver your grace.
If I slid into a pit of deep despair as dark as any otter’s den, even there you would reach in.
I hear your voice, the echo just beyond my hearing.
I see my better self, just beyond my own embodied image.
Even when I try to run and hide from you, I know you as “home”.
Thank you for calling me your own.
Draw me forward out of the ancient mystery into today’s obedience.
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