Reflection for Tuesday, June 20, 2000: 11th week in Ordinary Time.

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Pedersen, Cathy Weiss
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God, Who?'|Upon first reading of today's scriptures, I wondered what, if anything, could be gleaned from reflecting on them. It seems that we are presented with a choice between diametrically opposed images of God.|In the first reading (1 Kings), God tells Elijah to inform Ahab that God will destroy him and his people because of their evil ways. "'When one of Ahab's line dies in the city, dogs will devour him; when one of them dies in the field, the birds of the sky will devour him.' ... he (Ahab) became completely abominable by following idols." However, when Ahab repents, God spares him, but promises, "I will bring the evil upon his house during the reign of his son." Elijah's God is a powerful God, one who brings vengeance (justice?) upon all who do evil things.|In Matthew's gospel, Jesus urges his followers to, " ... love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are children of God. For God makes the sun rise on bad and good alike; God's rain falls on the just and the unjust ... .Therefore be perfect, as Abba God in heaven is perfect." Jesus invites us to be godchildren ... to pray for all; to love all, just as God does. Jesus' God is all loving ... One who gifts the good and the bad with the wonders of creation.|So ... are we left with an impossible dilemma? Are we to attempt to choose the 'correct' image of God? Or is there a 'correct' image of God that negates all others? Or are these questions the ones to contemplate?|As I further reflected on these readings, I realize that my images of God have evolved over time. As a young person, growing up in a pre-Vatican II era, many of my descriptions of God reflected what I learned from those around me. God was all-powerful, all knowing, all wise, all loving, and all just ... and God was unchanging. My sense of God was more of a mysterious idea to be studied, pondered, honored ... but very unreachable in a personal way. Sure, God loved me/all of us. God could call us to do good ... to want to serve God in this world so that we could share eternity with God.|However, as I grew into young adulthood, the church was in the midst of a renewal. I came in contact with many other ideas of God as the years passed and my circle of teachers and friends expanded my sense of God. I became more comfortable with a personal God, One who is approachable, who is constantly present to me/us and makes the 'sun shine on the good and bad and rains on the just and unjust.' My God image has been as deeply female as it has been male. My God has been as loving as any Parent, as challenging as any faith-filled Teacher and/or Mentor, and as life giving as the Spirit of Love.|In short, my God image continues to evolve because God is revealed to me in a myriad of wonderfully new ways through other people, events, ideas, and personal prayer time with my God.|Perhaps today's readings are not meant to create a dilemma about the 'rightness' or 'wrongness' of a God image, but rather to coax us into realizing that God is revealed over time and through many people. It is up to us individually and as the whole human community to be ready, to be open, to 'see' God as we encounter the many 'glances' of God in our lifetime.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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