Thursday, June 26, 2014

"God is not totally independent from the world--and indeed, from the image of God brooding over the waters in Genesis, to God's wooing of a people in the lore of Jewish history, to the incredible nature imagery of the Psalms and wisdom literature, to the intimate images of relationship between God and the Jews in prophetic literature, to the story of God's incarnational activity in the Gospels, to the images of God's Spirit brooding over and through the church in the epistles, to the culminating image of God's renewal of all creation in Revelation, does not the Scripture itself contradict the notion of a God totally independent of the world?  Our texts portray a God deeply involved with the world and its events, with God wooing the world to deeper modes of community and caring, wooing us towards deeper relation with one another and with God's own self.  So imagine, as the Scriptures suggest, that God is not independent of the world, but interdependent with the world.  Imagine that the God of the universe, like flowing water, is in intimate relation with all elements throughout the universe, and therefore with all our earth as well.  Imagine that God, in creative relation to the earth, woos the earth so that it becomes a world, and woos the world in the hope that it might yet become a peaceful and just reflection of the divine image.
[T]he image of God I am proposing is of a God pervasively present, like water, to every nook and cranny of the universe, continuously wooing the universe toward continuous transformation toward its greater good. ... I am proposing an image of a God who interacts with the universe not partially, but totally.  Such a God creatively gives to and receives from all forms of existence. ... God gives creative and suggestive energy to the world, and the world gives the results of what it has done with this energy back to God.  Prayer in such a world is an openness to God's own creative energy, and to the good that God intends for us.  It is also an offereing back to God, giving God the gift of ourselves. ... God's creative power works with the world's creative power--and sometimes against the world's resistant power.  For the world can resist God.  It cannot eliminate God, and it cannot change God's self-chosen character; it cannot defeat the divine faithfulness, and it cannot rid itself of the divine presence.  But the world can distort the guidance of God; it can refuse the possibilities given for its transformation.  It can reject God moment by moment.  Alternatively, the world can open itself to God, becoming a co-laborer with God, exercising its influence in conjunction with God's great aim towared deeper modes of human communities of caring.  The world can respond to God in love, and know its own love to be a uniquely creative reflection of God's deeply wooing love.  And whether we respond to God in rejection or in love, God inexorably experiences our response--God inexorably experiences us. ... [P]rayer is God's invitation to us to be willing partners in the great dance of bringing a world into being that reflects something of God's character."

--Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, In God's Presence


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