Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Where are you God?

Jews have a hard time talking about God. I say to myself that I want to talk more about God but I  fear that on the pulpit if I do discuss God, that glassy eyed look will infect the entire congregation at Shabbat services. Yet I must explore first my own ambiguity not about God’s existence as the creator of the universe, but, I want so desperately to feel that God cares and knows we are here. I am searching myself, as if this is my life’s journey, to see if I can discover that presence just for me let alone for everyone else in my congregation.
I think we have lost the art of talking to god. I read the stories of how simple Jewish people could talk to god out of the depths of a shtetl and its poverty and danger too. Yet they carried on conversations with the Holy One. I am not so attracted to the great philosophers of Judaism even though I read their works and admire their determination to make Judaism relevant in the world they lived in during the Middle Ages and even through today. I cling to simple stories and prayers. I look for the poetry of God talk. I search not so much for the answer to God but for the question. I yearn to live in the question.
I see that the pathway between the Holy One and me branches out into many different directions. There are many roads traveled in this search for the questions. I can hear God calling me from the very pages of Genesis, “Ayecha,” Where are you?” (2:9) For me religion is all about a life of self discovery and rolling in the meadow of that question “Where are You?”
I do not see God as simply an inner voice or only an outstanding presence that “rolls darkness into light and light into darkness.” I can’t even define God or know what I am speaking about or to whom. Does that make me an unbeliever or just crazy? An agnostic? I relish the journey of discovering not only the essence of myself as I study, pray, teach torah, and write a poem. But all these sacred acts bring me closer to Eternal One. How do I know this is so? I don’t. But I would swear it to be true. I can live with these paradoxes. I can sustain this search with the creative tension I yearn for as I search for truth and for the question that opens the door to truth I have not yet grasped. This is the game of hide and seek with God that I have engaged in over the last twenty five years. I am hiding and I am seeking!
Not every act is an inquiry into the Godhead. Of course I can perform the rituals and savor them. I can read the prayers to myself and to my congregation with feeling and kavanah (inspiration). I once had a dream that I would text God.  I said, “Are you there?” Does a text message have a better chance of reaching God than a letter to God sent to the Post Office? I have more to say on this. What is your view of God?

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