Where is God?
There has been an argument going on for centuries with popular thought swinging, pendulum style, between the transcendent God and the imminent God, or those who believe in the God above versus those who believe more strongly in the God within.
The Old Testament Scripture images are of a God that exists beyond us, a God distant and beyond reach, a judge and creator that manipulates the creation in which we live and can at will stop the movement of planets. Our New Testament images include a Trinitarian God, a God of personal connection, and a God of love all rolled in to one. Leo Tolstoy was excommunicated for proclaiming that the “kingdom of God is within”. Jesus himself said, “The kingdom of God is here.”
Since volumes have been written on this subject for centuries and theologians, better educated and more eloquent than I, have struggled with this through their entire careers, I am not about to come up with an answer in a few short paragraphs. In fact, I will very likely, only bring to the forefront of your mind a few more questions.
As we seek to find God, let’s first remove the image of God as any kind of “person-like being” (we may have been created in the image of ‘that which we worship’ but more likely we have created ‘it’ in our image). So we begin by removing the capital letter and cease from seeing ‘God’ as a proper noun. We really ought not try to name our god, and the word “g-o-d”, is not the ‘name’ of a person, place, or thing, to name the sacred limits it to our definition. The three letter word g-o-d describes an item of worship. A ‘god’ is something that is worshipped, something with a sacred element, something that a person or group of people have declared to be worthy of praise and the essence of what is sacred, to them. Mostly it is an idea, or a concept, which is represented by something visual, an icon or an idol, an image or a person. But it is not the “thing” that is worshipped; it is that which is represented by the visual object which is before those who find it to be sacred.
It is my belief that the followers of Jesus who heard his teachings, observed his behavior, and encountered him in person; saw all that he was to all that were around and realized that he personified the essence of what they had been taught as the core of what was sacred. He was the humble servant, the all compassionate one, the essence of what they believed to be ‘worthy of praise’ and they proclaimed Jesus as the manifestation of the sacred in the flesh. But Jesus would never have accepted being called God. To name god was contrary to everything the faith of the Hebrew people stood for. Jesus was too humble and too compassionate to be lifted above others, Jesus was too much like one of them, or us.
So where is your god? One of an infinite possibility of answers is this . . . God is in the love you offer a stranger, when that stranger has been praying to be loved.