The Collective Face of God

Cody - Montevideo, Minnesota
Entered on May 3, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

In 18 years, I have run the religious gamut. I have prayed in tongues and been prophesied over. I have joined twenty five Benedictine monks for late-night vespers and prayed the rosary many times. I have broken bread with feminist nuns and meditated on the Spirits of the Universe. I have prayed the Lord’s Prayer saying “Our Father,” “Our Father-Mother,” and “Our Creator.” I have lead worship wearing vestments and I have lead worship wearing shorts and sandals. I have recited Scripture from St. Matthew, the Koran, the teachings of Baha’u’llah, and the collected work of Ghandi. On several occasions, I have accepted the Body and Blood of Christ from a Lesbian woman and a Baptist man who would never dream of being the same room with the Lesbian woman. I have heard confession and offered absolution. I have confessed and been absolved. I have healed. I have been healed.

I believe in the transforming power of religion. While aware of the hatred and discord often sowed by practitioners of religion, I am even more aware of the healing and love sowed. Religion, in my opinion, is a communal practice of something that is, by definition, a personal relationship with the Holy.

I do not worship a God who hates. I do not worship a God who discriminates. I do not worship a God who blesses discord. I do not worship a God who will not accept me the way I was created. I do not worship a God of gender-specific pronouns. I do not worship a God of closed doors and broken dreams.

I worship a God whose name is Love. I worship a God who offers healing and peace. I worship God the Father. I worship God the Mother. I worship God the Mysterious. I worship a God who creates. I worship a God who teaches. I worship a God who hears my prayers. I worship a God who

There are too many people today who take their freedom of religious expression and deny others. We are all, in theory, trying to get to the same place in the end, no? When I see religious discrimination, I cringe—but I move on. I know that there will always be hatred and discord. That is proof of our humanity—a flawed humanity. Our flawed humanity is, perhaps, the single-most important pretext for the existence of faith. By believing in something perfect and holy, we make effort to emulate that perfection and holiness.

There is an inner holiness that each of us possesses. I love the Hindu greeting, “Namaste,” which means, “The Holy One in me greets the Holy One in you.” By looking at another human, we are looking at one of the Creator’s many children. By doing so, we are looking into the collective face of God. As Luther said, “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen .” This I believe.