Seeing the divine in all things is not heretical

This entry is part 22 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

Look around you, what do you see? Are you not surrounded by grace? By walking talking miracles gifted with the gift of life and love?

How is it that within the Christian church, it has become heretical to see and to point out the divine outside of the confines of our little community, outside of our own sphere of theological thought and outside our own tradition? For some it is even hard to acknowledge the divine in other Christian churches.

St. Bonaventure writes:

“By God’s power, presence, and essence, God is the One whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. God exists uncircumscribed in everything. … God is, therefore, all inclusive. God is the essence of everything. God is most perfect and immense: within all things, but not enclosed; outside all things, but not excluded; above all things, but not aloof; below all things, but not debased. Finally, therefore, this God is all in all…. Consequently, from him, through him and in him, all things exist.”

As the song lyrics state “Above and below and all around you are.” God is simply everywhere, in church language we call this omni-presence, this means god is in all things surrounding all things or as the process theologians rightly states all things are in god. However this does not mean that we are dropped into god like rocks in a fish tank but rather that god permeates and saturates all things.

On a quantum level, god is that which binds all things together. Father Richard Rohr writes:

“That is not simplistic pantheism (everything is God), but it is a much more profound pan-en-theism (everything is in God and God can be found in everything). This is Christianity’s great message, which it has, in large part, found too good to be true and too hard to believe!”

Saying this tree is my god, I will have no other god but this tree is pantheism and according to the Christian path idolatry. However to say god is in this tree, I honour this tree as part of the divine is not idolatry, it is worship of the divine and it is in now way heretical. The same goes for any other thing or any other person. Therefore it is not heretical to see the divine in another human being whether that being is called Jesus, Theresa, Gandhi or any other person canonised or not, Christian or not.

It is also not heretical to greet another being with a ‘namaste’ (The divine in me, sees and honours the divine in you. I am divine, you are divine, the scriptures quite clearly state that this is true. It is explained as a Sacrament (latin: sacramentum, greek: mysterion) in for example Col 1.27

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (NRSV)

So let’s honour this secret, this mystery, this sacrament, that the divine is ever present, everywhere and in everyone. Let’s also honour that god who is always present everywhere can also show up on other times than Sunday morning, other places than church, other books than the bible and other people than Christians. Lets remove some blinkers and actively and intentionally seek the divine in everything and everyone.

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