After the Paris attacks the Da lai Lama made these insightful and telling statements…
‘We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.
‘We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. “
I just want to throw a few thoughts out there. The thing with prayer after tragedies (most recently with Orlando, Alton Sterling, Anthony Nunez, Pedro Villenueva, Philandro Castille, and the brutal cop killings in Dallas) is there may be a perception that God is “out there” and we need Him to intervene “here”. Otherwise this wouldn’t have /shouldn’t have happened.
The Dalai Lama touched on something crucial.
Simply this: our role in the healing of the world.
My goal in the next few moments is to examine from the Judeo-Christian scripture, a different perspective of God than the “out-there vs here” paradigm that many are accustomed to.
Track with me.
Genesis 28:15-16 (God speaks to the Patriarch Jacob – father of the Jewish people)
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”
Jeremiah 23:24 (God speaks to the Prophet Jeremiah)
Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.
Ephesians 4:6 (Paul’s letter to the believers in Ephesus)
one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in you all
Luke 17:20-21 (Jesus teaching )
When He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation. Nor will they say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For remember, the kingdom of God is within you.”
and finally, Paul’s address to a crowd in Athens as recorded in the book of Acts / Acts 17:24-28
“God who made the world and all things in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by hands. Nor is He served by men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives all men life and breath and all things. He has made from one blood every nation of men to live on the entire face of the earth, having appointed fixed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek the Lord so perhaps they might reach for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’
Each of these passages points to a reality where God is very real and very present. Right here, right now. He isn’t in some distance beyond the cosmos – far from the cries of our heart before, during and after tragedy.
This is important to remember.
This alerts us to the presence of God now.
This orients our heart to action and compassion here and now.
This positions us for being receptive to the healing and redemptive work that God continues to initiate in every moment, every heart beat and breath, and action that humanity takes.
Thought-Leader, Humanitarian and Commentator, Brandan Robertson stated in a similar vein,
“It’s the incarnational inclination of God- he loves to move in and through people”
What changes would occur if, more often than not we viewed God as near?
Not only that, but to take a step further. recently on Twitter there was a hashtag #GiveMeHopein5Words
I chose simply, “God is in us All “. God is literally in every single one of us. Imago Dei. The Image of God.
Because of my faith tradition as a Jesus Student I believe Jesus allows us to wade past the worst parts of ourselves and recapture that Image.
Regardless of my belief though. Whatever yours is please know that God is in you by your very existence and being God is in you.
We literally have to (and we have been granted the capacity for it) bring heaven on earth. Hell and Heaven are choices that we make for ourselves and the world around us every moment of every day.
We collectively have to discover a higher way of existing and being. We have to evolve into it. Sitting in this pain and turmoil has to birth a better way