Regular readers will recall that we began this series of posts, looking at Psalm 139. It speaks of being unable to hide from God’s presence.
We saw that when we think of God as a Cosmic Big Brother, this can be a troubling concept. However, when we think of God as Soil, the question changes tone. “Where can I go from the soil of God’s Presence?” begins to mean something quite different.
Where can I hide from the soil in which I am rooted?
This makes no sense.
It is not Captain Omniscience from whom I cannot hide. No, it the Soil of Sustaining Presence from which I cannot be separated. Where can I go from the all-ness of my existence? The very question makes no sense.
I can try and hide. I can limit my thinking about God to an All-Seeing Eye and try to elude It. I can labor under the illusion that by going high, or low, or far away, or into the dark, I can live a disconnected life.
However, in this God-Soil metaphor, I cannot…
- I am always in touch with something greater than me.
- Always in touch with something lesser than me.
- Always impacted by something deeper, greater, and more profound than me.
- In turn, I impact that to which I am connected.
Rooted in God… along with all of God’s creation…
My sense that my life is a private, discreet, separate, affair, is an illusion.
Something has claim upon me. Something pours vitality into me and something is always drawing vitality or lethargy from me. I am both being affected by something deeper than me, and affecting reality around me.
Psalm 139 is not a threat. It is a reality in which we live.
But it is also a description of Reality. My secrets, my privacy, my isolation are illusion. My most intimate motivations, sequestered in the most secreted depths of my soul, are not completely my own. They belong to the Divine Ecosystem in which I am planted. They affect my people and my earth. They touch my friends and family, and thus in a real way belong to them. The same is true of my city, my job, my planet, my human race.
Rooted in Divine Life, we are connected to all around us. When God is Dirt, we are part of an ecosystem outside of which we cannot step.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Nowhere.
Nothing I do is independent. Nothing I say or think is is non-consequential. Nothing is private in the sense that it does not affect something else.
Everything is connected.
– To God…
– To everything else.
Where can I flee from your presence?
How can I unroot myself from the Ground of all Being?
How can I uncenter myself from my true center
Where can I go from your Spirit?
The question doesn’t make sense.
A different God.
A different Psalm 137.
A different spiritual life.
A different spiritual community.
I am moved with hope when I remember David’s words, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
Yet, I look around and I hunger for more fruit that evidences the Spirit. Jesus promised: “I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing.” I’ve found abiding in the Vine difficult when living day to day without connection to a community that journeys on the same path.
Nonetheless, I thank you for the reminder that God is the Ground of my being, and in him there is Love. With this God-soil metaphor, the rest of the passage makes sense: “You did not choose me; I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name. This is my command: Love each other.”
Life may be lonely, but he has given me much love to pour to others — my children, those who seek counsel and guidance, and burnt out co-workers who can use some soul nurturing. There is much loving still to be done. Maybe “fruit” is not something that comes to us, but something that comes from us.
“Soil of Sustaining Presence “… love that phrase!
And yes, Genny, you would find the community in Raleigh NC welcoming you with open arms!