The ultimate reality of God

By Father Bill Mobley, St. John’s Church | May 01, 2019

Editor’s Note: Father Bill Mobley was a Worship columnist for The Beacon in the early- and mid-1990s until his death in 1996. A few times this year, we will be revisiting his columns. This column ran in 1993.

 

Most of us consider scripture to be revelation. One of the things it talks about is God – especially God doing things, revealing Himself, giving Himself. It says He gave His only son. We learn a lot about persons from what they do; that’s also true when we seek to learn about God.

Out of God’s encounter with Moses, came that wonderful description of God: “God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, rich in kindness and fidelity.” That also tells us something about ourselves. If we are made in God’s image and likeness, that is the way we should be. It helps define the way we should live with each other in our families, in society, and in our faith communities.

We live together. Our life is relational, which is a word we don’t use every day. It simply means we enter into relationships. All the time. It is the way of love and friendship, and even more basically, the way of being human. We cannot exist or become persons without a relational life, one that is lived in society or community, and which brings love and meaning into the core of our being.

We also understand that this relational life is supremely true of God. We are told in John’s gospel, “God is love!” We readily agree. We have seen that love in action, in the person of Jesus and in the works of creation. But the heart of that statement is the very “to be.” It is a statement of being, not doing. God is love.

God’s power is understood as love. Most of us have no doubt about that power; it permeates all of creation. Before science the power of a storm was directly linked to God. In the scientific age, we discover that power in the cohesion of atoms and the process of the slow evolution of the species. Whether we look into the complexity of a cell or across the oceans of space to count the galaxies, we perceive this power. So, how can we make the transition to affirming that it is also love? Do we just listen to the prophets and “take it on faith,” that phrase which is used so often to stop or challenge all further thinking? No.

We can see the signs of that love in three places. In the world. In Jesus. In ourselves. The world, and more specifically the earth, is full of life and beauty. It could be a hot rock (as it once was) and all color could be a dull gray, or the landscape of the moon. It isn’t. We are surrounded by, immersed in, a creation that suggests the Creator made loving plans for us. These plans include making the earth a garden and life becoming human, developing into persons capable of love and eventually one with divinity.

The second reason to believe that in God, power is love, is the person of Jesus – His life, death, resurrection, witness and teaching. He is the supreme expression of divine love, a love that is for us. The gospel puts it best: “God so loved the world” – all of us, billions of people and each single person – “that He gave His only son.”

And finally, we come home to ourselves. Yes, the final reason to believe in God is more than power, that God is love, found within ourselves. We, at our best, and in normal relationships, move quickly into the mystery of loving and being loved. It is a mystery that enfolds us and calls beyond ourselves, stirring a wish of fulfillment that is never found totally in this life. It quickly goes beyond the physical – the touch, the embrace.

Our whole experience of love involves a desire to go beyond time and mortality. And it does. We experience love as the “real thing.”

The name we have given for that ultimate reality is God.

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