I went on a walk with my friend early this morning, in an area unknown to me. She led the way to a lake and surrounding fenced park and walked towards a padlocked, rather narrow and very ordinary tall gate, which looked more like a rusty old doorway into someone’s backyard than the entry to a public park.
I had spotted the padlock straight away, looked at it and thought, “How are we going to get in?” My friend gently pushed the gate open and I realised that the padlock had only been attached to the gate and nothing else and said, “That’s a mock lock.” We laughed and continued on our walk.
But what has that got to do with God?
Well, other than being a funny rhyme – mock lock – it reminded me of the obstacles we humans put in the way between us and the innate knowing of the magnificence of God. We pretend we don’t know and can’t feel it; we deny God’s Beingness, His all-encompassing presence; we believe that we need an intermediary in the form of a member of the clergy, of whatever ilk – we erect gates, padlock them and all the while, ignore His magnificence.
We imbue God with our human spirit’s traits. We depict Him as vengeful, demanding of sacrifices, insisting on obedience; as angry, as meting out forgiveness; as supporting this as opposed to that, as taking sides – we erect gates, padlock them and all the while, ignore His magnificence.
We theorise that God takes sides and pays allegiance to some over others. We claim Him for the Catholic church, for the Islamic faith, for the Protestants, Anglicans and whatever divisions we can come up with – we erect gates, padlock them and all the while, ignore His magnificence.
We call on God in many ways, whether we say we believe in Him or not. We utter things like, “Oh God” or “Oh my God”; we kneel on hard floors or benches that hurt our knees; we prostrate ourselves on cold stone floors; we stretch out our arms in supplication across the distance towards heaven – we erect gates, padlock them and all the while, ignore His magnificence.
We have many images of God. We depict Him as a type of wizard with a long beard, grey hair and sitting on a throne; we paint his outstretched hand coming through the clouds and creating man; we think He lives behind the gates of heaven, guarded by saints and angels; we think He is a man and some think He must be a woman because that is only fair and bugger the patriarchy – we erect gates, padlock them and all the while, ignore His magnificence.
We try to capture God and put words in His mouth. We craft scriptures hundreds of years after true messengers and masters have walked the earth and turn them into institutionalised religions. We wield dogma and come up with tenets and rules that throw the cloak of secrecy over paedophilia and condone and justify holding sway over a flock of followers – we erect gates, padlock them and all the while, ignore His magnificence.
We exert force in the name of God. We go to war and kill fellow human beings because their version of God differs from ours and must therefore be eradicated. We torture and seek revenge because our interpretation and image of God must be defended and strengthened but is in truth so shaky that we succumb to the vilest behaviour imaginable – we erect gates, padlock them and all the while, ignore His magnificence.
We make sure God is kept busy as we think befits human life. We pray for personal favours and try to haggle and bargain with Him. We swear off a behaviour if only God came to the table and delivered. We pray for others because we think we know what is right for them – we erect gates, padlock them and all the while, ignore His magnificence.
We make God responsible for the wrongs of this world. We think He should have put an end to war, cruelty, torture, domestic violence, rape and everything else that is wrong in this world whilst we shirk responsibility and keep frantically busy creating more of the mess that we demand or implore Him to fix up on our behalf – we erect gates, padlock them and all the while, ignore His magnificence.
And while all this is going on, God is there in His magnificence and we, merrily or not, live in His atmic body and with the free will to deny, lie, demean, wilfully create, beseech, ignore and pretend whatever takes our fancy next until – we understand free will, get honest, drop the pride, stop pretending and take responsibility.
We realise there is no gate, that there has never been a gate and thus, it and the padlock have been imaginary and our own creation all along.
We get to know and reacquaint ourselves with the reality of our grandness and that we have always been part of the magnificence that is God.
By Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, NSW