A dear friend writes daily devotionals as part of his own spiritual practice, and he shared this one with us. His name is Mark Stoeltje, and he is the Executive Director of the Clubhouse in San Antonio, Texas. Google Mark and the Clubhouse or visit their website at saclubhouse. org for more information about Mark and his work. This devotional proclaims some ideas that seem to some "too good to be true..." The idea that "God loves everyone", and "There are many pathways to the living God" have been referred to as wishful thinking and soft theology. As I read the New Testament, Jesus' proclamation of the good news answers the deepest desires of our hearts, as well as our deepest fears. Often when our deepest need is right in front of us, we are tempted to think "Aahh, that's just too good to be true" and we let cynicism take over. Believing in the Good News is the leap of faith we're all invited to take. Here's from Mark:
“God is bigger than people think.” Jimmy Dean
I’m sitting in the Houston airport on Sunday morning, waiting to board a flight to Seattle. In front of me there is a young man, who I assume is an Orthodox Jew, praying earnestly to the God of his understanding. At first, it’s an unfamiliar and odd sight for me, as he rocks back and forth, mouthing ancient prayers in Hebrew, with what appear to be boxes affixed to his forehead and strapped to his arm. I have seen these boxes before, but know nothing about them. Intrigued, I go to Wikipedia and find that they are Tefillin, and contain parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. They are worn as a remembrance that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Watching this young man reminds me how big our God is, and that there is room for us all to commune with our Creator in whatever way is most familiar or comfortable to us. Because I am not a Jew, I don't fully understand his method of communion, but I don’t need to, just as he doesn’t need to understand mine.
God is big enough for all of us. Each of us are individuals, with unique personalities and unique gifts. And the ways in which we humans commune with God are infinite: through nature, art, music, dancing, fire, writing, praying the rosary, meditating – the list goes on and on.
A definition of God I remember from some unknown philosopher is “that which there is no greater than.” By this definition, there can only be one God. But there are many of us, and each of us is like a snowflake - completely unique. We are given the dignity, the choice, and the gifts to commune with the God of our understanding in our own deeply personal way. I can’t dance, but I can write. I am not a musician, but I am an artist. Through the prayerful rhythm of this young man’s rocking, God is reminding me that I can be who I am and give other people the dignity to be who they are, not only in prayer but in life.
“In my Father’s house, there are many mansions.” John 14:2a