Sunday, March 28, 2010

God is dead...Happy Easter!

Today is a special day for most Christians...because it marks the start of a Holy Week of preparations leading to Easter, next Sunday, a week in which the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are remembered. Yet how pertinent is this commemoration to many people in the world today?  Friedrich Nietzsche's classic philosophical work "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" (1883-5) is mostly responsible for popularizing the phrase and reasoning that "God is Dead!". In his writings, Nietzche announces the death of God and the birth of a successor, the Superman, and describes his views on a variety of subjects. Deeply influential the idea is stated as follows:

"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?"

He adds: "Ah brothers, this God which I created was human work and human madness, like all gods!"  

From those far off days Nietzsche's words and arguments seem to continue echoing right into our Twenty-first Century if a cursory glance at life around us is anything to go by.  The remembrance of this Week therefore is seen to mean that this man, Jesus Christ, went through such a horrific death for nothing, perhaps for a dream he believed in.....and so we have today replaced him with Easter eggs, bunnies and many other sweet or sugared delicacies.

But is this thinking right?  Is God really dead to the masses of the world?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

There's more than Spring in the air

Welcome to Spring. Today, 21st March, is the first day of the 2010 awakening.  After the self imposed sleep, "death", of nature over the recent past winter months we now start seeing the rebirth of all that was hibernating.

So what's so special about that? It happens all the time, annually, that we perhaps ignore it, indeed even taking it for granted. In a sense that is what happens to us too.  In a mundane sense, we start shedding our heavy winter garb and enter into a more relaxing and lighter mode of dress and general approach to life. It is, in a way, our own personal awakening too.

This is interesting indeed because when we look closer into all this we see a lot of what happens has a spiritual level too and seems to follow this "life-death-life" pattern too.  The "seed" is planted, it dies, germinates and comes alive again in new blooms. Man, from time immemorial, has recognised this awakening and identified in it a personal link.  The Spring equinoxe was the time when ancient man could know when to plant his food and how long he would have to wait to fill his home again with its produce for ultimate survival, salvation.

They saw in it the occasional graciousness of their gods, who would look favourably or not on those who offered sacrifice to them, especially at harvest times when the best of the crop was offered to their divine protectors. As the monotheistic concept developed and became more entrenched in human spiritual minds, the Almighty Good whom the world's main religions revered - and still revere today - began to be seen as the "manipulator" of all that happens in life.  Their concept of a God was that he lived somewhere up there in the clouds, looking down at us and seeing how we cope, or not, with life in general. But getting angry at us if we offended him by our actions.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I want to see you - 2 - Breathing emotionally...

Picking up from last week's post, it is interesting to again consider the element of "making love" with God with which I parted last week....because therer is a real element of love beyond understanding in our relationship with |Him who matters. On of the things we therefore all feel is the need to be loved...and to feel loved. And our relationship with Him is no different.  He made us that way, to want - to need - to be loved. It is our constant struggle, it seems, to want to be affirmed, to be made to feel special, to be touched, to be singled out for admiration, to feel tangible proofs of love.  Over and over again, we all share these yearnings in our life.

Henri Nouwen, a priest, is a much loved writer and a much admired academic as well who disarmingly, and with great honesty admits this longing to feel loved by God in many of his writings.  One of his most famous works is "Inner Voice of Love", his diary from December 1987 to June 1988, during one of his most serious bouts with clinical depression. Yet he is particularly known for his reflection on the well known story of The Prodigal Son which Jesus explained to show his Father's love for us all as recorded in the gospels.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I want to see You...

“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see you….” is part of the refrain of a popular song I love so much and, in my mind, one which directly does battle with the high level of busyness and noisy life that we all seem to be living these days. It is a problem I – and, I suppose, many others too – have with our God….that He is so silent, so low key, in His communications with us that we sometimes wonder if he actually exists.

I’ve often wondered, no, asked Him directly, to speak to me. To make His presence felt. More often than not the result was complete silence. And more silence after that too!

Does one take that as a sign that He isn’t interested in my prayers?

Or in me?

Or, even worse, that He doesn’t exist at all; that He is a figment of our imagination, because we need to believe in a higher being to remain sane? Anyway, if this were true then where does this need to believe in a Higher Being come from after all?

The Last Word?

Make yourself at home here, come back and read some of the older cappuccino posts too, relax, reflect.... and comment if you wish....there's a comment button at the end of each post!
I hope to see you again in a few days time. Enjoy.