In his famous poem Ode to Immortality, Wordsworth wrote that our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.
I’ve always loved that imagery. I love the idea that at one time, in some unknown form, we dwelled with God, that we communed intimately with him, knew every line in his face, the softness of his hands, the sound of his voice, the warmth of his embrace.
And then we were born.
No wonder we come into this world wailing.
As we are awakening to a new world, we are dying to another. Every minute of life carries us further away from whence we came; the older we get, the less we remember of it.
Last Sunday evening during Children’s Bible Hour, the children were asked to draw a picture of God. Sean immediately got to work. There was no question in his mind what God looked like.
The teacher called him to the front of the class and asked him to talk about his picture. He held it up and told an audience of 30 or so children with confidence that he thinks God is a happy face in the sky with a beard and some swirly lines.
The teacher nodded and said with a sigh that he was sure there was a message behind his picture. Sean shook his head. “There’s no message behind the picture,” he said and then he showed the teacher the back of his paper. Blank. No message.
The next day, as we were eating breakfast, I saw the drawing at the end of the breakfast bar. I picked it up and looked at it again. I asked Sean to tell me more about it. “Well,” he said pointing his fork, “The smiley face with the beard represents God and the swirly lines are a gust of wind.”
I was intrigued by the idea of God as a gust of wind.
As I looked at the picture, I thought of how many times God has drawn near to his people in the form of wind – sometimes in a violent gust like in Acts 2:2 and other times as gentle as a whisper as in 1 Kings 19:12.
I thought of how the Greek word pneuma is used to mean both wind and spirit and how the Hebrew word ruah is used to convey both wind and spirit but also breath – the very essence of life.
And then I thought that maybe he has not yet travelled so very far from whence he came.
And I wanted to stand just a little bit closer to him.
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More esoterical musings on the nature of God from my She Speaks peeps over here.