Did you ever wonder what it’s like to be God? Just think about it: Chief executive officer of the cosmos…and beyond: universes, galaxies, stars, the planets in their courses to name just a few of the things you and I are aware of. And tucked into the midst of all this grandeur and splendor is one relatively small but beautifully colored green and blue planet. Seen from afar it looks like a jewel, luminous and lovely and simple. Draw in closer and it’s still lovely, but a lot less simple. Draw in closer and you can see just how intricate it is with mountains and plains, oceans and deserts – sun, rain, snow, sleet and hail – gentle breezes and howling winds – seasons which produce growth and seasons when everything lies dormant – life that stretches in size from the tiniest microbe to the tallest redwood – flowers, thorns – growth which nourishes and growth which poisons.
Inhabiting this planet…by your design of course since you are God, are creatures called human beings, and among them they exhibit a diversity as bountiful and wild as any other seen in nature. They come in all colors, sizes, and temperaments, and of all else that you made on this jewel of a planet they most resemble you. They claim to be made in your image with all the rich implications such a claim holds. They say you’ve made them the rulers of this particular part of your creation and blessed them with memory, reason and skill. And you have, but what makes them truly unique among all their fellow inhabitants of this relatively small green and blue jewel of a planet is that they can dream, dream the same dreams you do…or dreams of their own. And they’re free, free to shape their own destinies by the many decisions, great and small, they make every day of their lives. If you are the CEO of all that is, then they are a sort of middle management in the creation. Like middle managers everywhere, they think they know what it’s like to be the CEO, and often enough they try to assume your functions as middle managers everywhere are prone to do. Did you ever wonder what it’s like to be God?
Today is Trinity Sunday, that day when you and I are supposed to think about just who God is. To some people that means somebody like me is supposed to get up and “explain” God in terms that people like you can understand. If you happen to be harboring that expectation, I hope you’ll let go of it this morning because it’s perfectly clear to me that I’m not capable of “explaining” God to myself, let alone you. Through the centuries much better minds than mine have undertaken the task with varying degrees of success, and I’ll be glad to point you in their direction if you want to take that route. In fact you can open you Prayer Book and ponder the language of the Nicene Creed if you want to get a sense of what the Church says about who God is. It is an attempt to explain God that has certainly withstood the test of time.
But I have to wonder if we wouldn’t be better served by putting aside our rather intellectual desire to know about God, and allowed our imaginations to be engaged and spend some time wondering what it’s like to be God. It’s something we do rather readily and easily with one another isn’t it? In fact, our native forefathers and mothers on this continent had a wonderfully evocative term for such an exercise. They call it walking in another’s moccasins. Walking in another’s moccasins values trying to understand how it “feels” to be someone else. So what about God?
What’s it like to be God? Best I can tell, it’s like letting go of what you hold dearest, allowing it to seek its own way, hoping against hope that it will choose the way you know is best for it. It’s living with the disappointment and sorrow that’s painful beyond imagining when, time after time, it chooses any and everything except what’s best for it. Being God is like letting go…and at the same time holding on for dear life, never giving up, intervening over and over again, but always without coercing, without forcing the Divine will.
I sometimes wonder if the greatest sorrow of God is not that you and I keep screwing up, but that we so continually and insistently resist walking a mile in her moccasins. I wonder if God’s greatest disappointment lies in the fact that you and I consistently refuse to recognize just how much we are like him in our hopes, our desires, our capacities, our suffering.
I want to read you a meditation by a man named Michael Moynahan. He calls it “Incarnation,” but it could just as easily be called “Trinity.” God is the speaker. Listen carefully to the pronoun God employs for self-reference.
We tried in so many ways to communicate our love.
If communication is not what you say but what other people hear,
then what we said was warped and
wrenched into distancing prescriptions that had no heart.
You asked for food.
We sent manna.
You asked for drink.
Water flowed from the rock.
You asked for directions.
Moses brought the law.
And on and on.
Still you grew more distant, more deaf, more blind.
Dreams dissolved into wander dust.
And so we did what families do when confronted with calamity.
We drew straws.
He came to share your plight, your fight, your night, and point you toward tomorrow.*
If you and I choose to try and understand what God feels instead of just seeking to know about him we’ll need to take the God view, the long view which is informed by a reckless, unending love. We’ll need to accept that being made in the divine image means we’re co-creators with God as well as creatures in the creation. We’ll need to be willing to exchange our hes and its and shes, and even out theys…for we, for us. What is it like to be God? I wonder.
* “Incarnation” by Michael Moynahan, SJ
Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits
The Institute of Jesuit Resources 1993