About fifteen years ago, my sister Gail offered this confident refutation of my “high religion” approach to spirituality: “Jim, I’ll tell you where I see God. I see God inside people, inside the people around me, inside myself.”
“Unacceptable,” I thought at the time. “That’s so humanistic and so belittling to God.”
On the other hand, this came from my sister Gail — the gifted mother of a beautiful family. And I know well that she has pursued a life of sincere, consistent, and responsible spirituality. Gail’s simple words still ring, loudly, in my ears.
So far as I know, Gail does not consider herself to be a Christian. Nevertheless, what she said does seem to have much in common with the spirituality taught by Jesus.
‘I am in the Father…’
Sitting at the table of the Last Supper, Jesus engaged in a penetrating conversation with the apostles. At one point, Phillip became exasperated with the degree of faith his master seemed to require. Across the table, he blurted out: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered Phillip, “…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father….How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work.”
Jesus’ admonishment to Phillip is not so different from the wisdom I received from my sister Gail. Could the presence, the divinity, the omnipotence of God actually reside within something as limited as a human being?
Certainly, Jesus must have been speaking from an exclusive position? Wasn’t he a unique and special case?
In a speech in 1992, Rev. Sun Myung Moon explained that Jesus was not unique in this respect, but rather served as an example.
“Songs, dancing, and art are ways that human beings respond to God’s joy and laughter. On the other hand, without love, singing, dancing and art are to no purpose. The core of art is love. For the love of the world God comes down and resonates with us through singing, dancing, and art.”
Rev Moon’s message seems to be that God is eager and expectant to “resonate” with each one of us.
Religions have tended to view God as almighty, distinct, and perfect, detached from our messiness, our suffering, our infighting. And yet, it seems that each of us has the same potential as Jesus, the ability to “resonate” on the same wavelength with God?
With this understanding and these scriptures in mind, it is interesting to consider the analogy of a pair of tuning forks. What if we are designed to resonate with God in the same way tuning forks resonate with one another?
Consider two tuning forks of identical shape. If you strike one fork against a hard surface and then immediately hold it closely beside the other, the second tuning fork will soon resonate with the exact same frequency and tone as the first. Without touching each other, the tuning forks resonate together at the exact same vibration and, therefore, the same pitch.
Same shape, same vibration, same pitch.
Passion and meaning in life
In fact, the first book of the Bible describes God’s intention to shape us just like Him:
“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”
Perhaps we are shaped to be perfect complements to God, with the potential to resonate fully with God’s love, just like a matching tuning fork! Jesus understood this essential truth and was comfortable expressing his oneness with the Father, in spite of doubters like Phillip or Thomas.
This understanding of human spirituality tells us something wonderful about natural and sought-after experiences of human life. Experiences such as:
These are the types of experiences that bring passion and meaning to people’s lives. Why so? Is it because there is something “spiritual” about them? Does investment of love and creativity open a connection, in some small way, to a higher consciousness or even to God?
And so, if each of us can connect and resonate with God through dance, sports, sexuality, parenthood, or even exploring the outdoors, perhaps encountering God is not only about going to church. Perhaps it is a matter of genuinely looking for God’s vibration in every experience of our life, and even, as my sister once told me, “inside every person.”-
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