How We See God (1)

but at the same time our understanding of God, and the understanding we share with others - has altered over the years. It altered during the growth of the Scriptures. The revelation that God is steadfast love, and of all that love means, as shown to us in the life and Passion of Jesus Christ, must qualify some of the earlier understandings of God's nature and ways (Samuel, Psalm 137) in places, we can see this revision actually taking shape (Jonah).

The people of god began by thinking that God would take their side against their enemies, and learned that God loved their enemies too. They began by assuming that suffering was God's judgement on the wicked, and by interpreting disaster as God's wrath. Gradually, they began to recognise that God was more interested in saving people from the power and the consequences of sin.

Vengeful, punishing God is fearsome, but it is questionable whether God has ever truly been like that, or whether it is just that in the past, people lived so much in fear that they interpreted the world around them and the events of their lives in that way. Whatever the truth of this, we now have the opportunity to proclaim a Gospel that springs from faith, not fear.

This is an attitude which is consistently open-handed, open-hearted, open-minded and willing to receive. Porous. Alert. Aware. Sensitive. Willing to listen. Available. Not available all the time to anyone and everyone regardless of their own needs or the needs of those close to them. Not human possible. And those who have tried it have destroyed themselves and those they purport to love in doing so. What I mean is that when Jesus was available to people, he made himself fully available to them. He was fully engaged. He was utterly focused on them. He was there with them and for them with the whole of himself.

affirm it, pay it attention. We are in a position to begin loving it. For to pay positive attention to something or someone - is to affirm them - and to affirm them is to love them. And if we are able to look upon them when they are at their most inadequate and affirm them then, we have begun to see with God's eyes. For despite our frailty and our many failings, God looks upon us only with love.

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