Going before me
Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now.”Ex 33:15
God goes before us. That is the aspect of God I am focussing on lately. What do I mean by that?
For me, the driving force has become this picture:
God appears in the distance, making us curious, and drawing us to himself.
Once we arrive at that place, he disappeared and the things that looked so supernatural and hardly attainable have become natural to us, even to the point where we ask ourselves how we ever existed without these characteristics or this worldview.
And next, we see God appearing in the distance again.
Looking back at human history, we can see several periods of such journeys.
God drawing Adam and Eve as archetypical types for humanity into consciousness by giving them language by having them name all things, pattern matching and color view to see the serpent and the fruit, and limits.
And soon thereafter, their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked.
Next, we see God draw humanity into community on a very small level, family first, tribes thereafter. Think of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve sons becoming twelve tribes.
The last step was certainly aided by the next milestone: power. The tribes were formed in slavery in Egypt, the victory of their God over the Egyptian gods, the journey in the desert, and the conquering of the land.
To prepare the next step of even greater community–the nation state–God introduced rules and orders for everybody to obey in the law given to Moses. The one absolute truth as uniting force for tribes that were anything but united. And it took a long time for them to be. Maybe the first time they were was under King David, only to break apart again two generations down.
Jesus appeared, installing more beacons for the future to first heal rules and order, making them a matter of the heart, not rules on stone tablets.
Jesus also individualized faith to be a personal and not a communal matter, speaking of the relationship of a father and a son, while inviting us into an even expanded community, inclusive not only of his own nation, but the world as well as “sinners” and outcasts.
It took a while for the church to grasp the individual dimension, which only broke through with force in the Reformation and spawned the industrial revolution as well as hyper individualism.
And it is only lately that the world and the church embrace the greater community in inclusivity, and we are still working on both those beacons.
There will be a time when a balance between individualism and inclusive community will be so natural to us that we cannot understand how previous generations could not see all that.
How could we think that just by belonging to the church we would be saved? How, on the other hand, could we think that there were dualistic groups of saved and unsaved? How could we be so arrogant to decide who was in and who was out?
Next, and very few already see that beacon shining up in the distance, we will see the full journey and the value of all those steps for each and every one of us as much as for the community.
How could anybody belong to a family without being conscious?
How could we form nations without being decisive and having the power to defend it?
How could we keep that raw force of power within healthy boundaries without a higher power, rules and regulations, order and an absolute truth?
How could we see God as a counterpart, as someone seeking our relationship, without this mythical, ruling, authoritarian God on a throne dying first?
And how could we be including without believing in the divine spark in each and every one of us first, and God’s wonderful grace second?
And once we arrive there and this becomes a natural for us, we will understand that Christ is in everything. We will grasp what God wanted when he told us to have dominion over everything.
And then, God will set the next beacon.
Why is it that each of those beacons becomes natural to us? Are we not losing God and his divine nature by incorporating his characteristics and features into our nature?
On the contrary: We are evolving into our destiny this way by becoming what the biblical narrative calls christlike.
And we develop a more expansive view of God during the journey, one could say, on the job as in on the job training.
Our destiny is to become one with the divine, to join the trinity–three and one at the same time–and form a divine multitude–many and one at the same time.
God thus becomes the force of love drawing us into himself. What a destiny!