Sensing God Pt. 1 | May 17, 2020
In these days of social isolation and distancing it seems like our senses are cut off. We can’t touch each other, we can’t enjoy the taste of food seasoned with good company, we can’t see each other, we can’t hear each other’s laughter, we can’t smell the familiar scent of our family or dear friends. We are missing the tactile-ness of our lives. Zoom only engages part of our senses, it leaves us wanting. Perhaps too, this season of life invites us to pay attention with senses to the Holy in the ordinary, and invites us to cherish our togetherness more when we are able to gather together again. Over the next few weeks we’ll explore the Body of God through our five senses. We will listen for God, we will look to see glimpses of the Holy in our daily lives, we will touch God, we will taste the goodness of God. We’ll ask each other and share how we experience God, where we noticed the Holy.
Our senses connect us to ourselves, they can ground us in the present. They are tangible. They are tools to lessen anxiety and calm our minds and bodies. A common mediation practice focuses on these senses, look, listen, feel , smell, taste.
Identify five things you can see.
Identify four sounds you can hear.
Identify three distinct sensations.
Identify two smells.
Identify something you can taste.
Returning our scattered and stressed minds to the immediacy of what is nearby. We can use this lens and practice to connect with the immediacy of the presence of the Holy too. Where did you see God this week? What does God sound like? I feel close to God when I smell… I can feel God’s presence when…. Abundant and Holy love tastes like? I remember what it felt like when…. These questions invite us to connect to God in the ordinary, the daily things of life. In these days when our routines are disrupted, our community is disconnected, and we are spending more time alone, or with only a few people, when we are staying closer to home than we ever have before, we may be feeling disconnected from the Holy. Why would God hang out in my kitchen, or in my backyard, God is most present in other places that we can’t go right now.
Theologian Sallie McFague uses metaphors as a way to articulate our understanding of God. A metaphor talks about the nature of the thing, without fully knowing and seeing the whole, it’s a reflection of the thing that allows us to know the thing more clearly. Specifically, McFague uses a metaphor of all of creation as the body of God. She writes,
“Everything can be a metaphor for God because no one thing is God. The body of God is not the human body nor any other body; rather, all bodies are reflections of God..."
To see creation as the body of God we might begin to see, “the marvels at our feet and at our fingertips: the intricate splendor of the Alpine forget-me-not or a child’s hand. We might begin to recognize the extraordinariness of the ordinary. We would begin to delight in creation, not as the work of an eternal deity, but as a sacrament of the living God. We would see creation as bodies alive with the breath of God.”
McFague goes on, “We would, then, have an entire planet that reflects the Glory, the very being…of God. We would have a concrete panorama for mediation on divine glory and transcendence, wherever we looked, whether at the sky with it’s billions of galaxies, or the earth (every square inch of which is alive with millions of creatures) or into the eyes of another human being, we would have an image of divine grander.”
To know and experience, to mediate on creation as the body and being of God, invites us to use our senses. To hear, taste, see, smell, touch the Divine. It invites us to intimacy with God and all of creation.