Just as millions of others around the world this past week, I have watched and listened to Pope Francis and reflected on much of what he’s said. While I don’t share the exact theology he does, I greatly honor and respect his desire to live the Gospel as he understands it, especially his belief that all people deserve care and comfort, and his call for us to support and uplift one another, as we each strive to transform our corners of the world.
In particular, I’ve reflected on his mention of Moses, Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton: All faithful people, who traveled extremely difficult faith journeys, struggled with inner and outer demons, and, at times, doubted both their calling and their successes in transforming this world. All of them were theologians who had an intimate relationship with God, especially when life seemed dark and bleak.
As we reflect on these spiritual masters’ faith and works, we may imagine that things are different now, that they faced different hurdles and obstacles than we do. Except for the various politicians vying for authority and power; or the many voiceless people who are poor, sick, hungry, and downtrodden; or the current unrest in the Middle East; or the people exiled from their homeland, not sure where they’ll rest tonight. Sometimes, we think it was different back in the day. Although, it isn’t that much different; some of us just have more stuff now.
The Truth is: Pope Francis and these spiritual leaders he praised all have something else in common. They chose to see the world, as noted Unity minister and writer Eric Butterworth said, “with God-colored glasses.” This means they viewed the world “from the consciousness of God,” as they understood God.
We are called to do this also. Because in seeing with God-colored glasses, we cease creating the world in our image. For many of us, this requires pressing our internal delete key to remove all previous images we have of God, especially those we created in our human image.
The God of Moses, Jesus, Lincoln, King, Day and Merton has no gender or appearance. This isn’t the capricious, puppeteer, superhero God who looks like Superman, Wonder Woman, George Burns, or Morgan Freeman. This God doesn’t send bolts of lightning to strike us down, nor does It challenge, threaten, or hurt us. It has no human emotions. This God isn’t a being. This God is Being. So awesome and wondrous few of us will ever fully comprehend It.
So, we’re invited, as people of faith – whichever faith is ours – to create the world in God’s image, with compassion, faith, trust, perseverance and understanding. As we remove our personal selves from the equation of outcome and allow our sacred selves to lead, we – just as those blessed leaders before us – express the divinity we are. Then, step by ever-faithful step, despite darkness and doubt, we transform our corners of the world.