Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Non-localized Glory of God

Double rainbow over the park
across from my house

Thomas Merton writes: "Contemplation is found in faith, not in geography; you dig for it in Scripture but cannot find it by crossing the seas." (A Year with Thomas Merton, Kindle Locations 4231-4232)

By "contemplation" I mean things like:
  • Visio dei - vision of God (mediated, not unmediated)
  • Sense of the presence of God
  • Beholding the glory of God (reflected glory)
You don't have to physically travel far away to contemplate God and to experience God's presence. To think that one has to be in a certain, special place is to misunderstand the nature of God as omnipresent. God cannot and will not be localized.

The earth-shattering presence of God is available in a jail cell, a wheelchair, a desert, a hospital, and where you are. Such experience is never mundane. This is why Merton can write: "By the reading of Scripture I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed round me and with me. The sky seems more pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green, light is sharper on the outline of the forest, and the hills and whole are charged with the glory of God, and I feel fire and music in the earth under my feet." (Ib.)

Merton wrote this from the Abby of Gethsemane in Kentucky. But the point is - you don't have to be in a monastery in Kentucky to experience such glory. God's experienced presence gives us new eyes to see the world.