The following is from Philip Gulley's book, The Evolution of Faith. He is writing about the idea, one that I heard long ago, that a goal of both pastors and parents is to work themselves out of a job, to equip others with what they need to be compassionate and justice-minded so that the presence or role of a pastor or parent, though it may be most welcome, is not crucial or does not create a dependency.
"Perhaps this is also true for God. When we perceive ourselves as sinners in need of salvation, then God will always be needed to rescue us. We will always require a god to save us from our sin. But if God is the universal and inward impulse that inspires us to seek the best for others and the growth of the beloved, then when we have learned to do that for ourselves, when we have evolved to that fuller awareness, then God might well have worked herself out of a job. Perhaps when we are fully evolved, we will no longer require a deity's assistance, for we will embody the attributes and goals toward which God has called us. We will be, in every sense of the word, grown-up."
I have been rethinking those times when I perceived God calling me to ministry, to marriage, to motherhood. I recalled the dream that I interpreted as God's call to ministry. What if that was all me—my need to participate in my own healing and the healing of others, my inner sight, the mystic within me? When I realized that the relationship that had broken my heart had set me free from my past to be able to meet the man who would become my husband, what if that was my own wisdom and growth? When I had dreams about each of my children before they were conceived, what if that was my deep desire? Would it make any of those less than meaningful because a deity was not the cause or inspiration of them? What if my imagination is more powerful than I was aware of? I realized that, with the help of a great cloud of living saints, I had been saving my life all along; that I had power I did not know I possessed.
That power is love. I am capable of loving myself and others at a level I did not give myself credit for. But don't get me wrong. I'm no master, which is why I still need Jesus. And all of you. In the first letter of John (1 John 4: 19) it reads that we love because God first loved us. What if we love because we learned about a God who is love and we internalized that love? Today in uptown Sedona I saw a statue created by James Muir entitled "Caduceus": an Angel of Healing, a powerful female form with wings, her body entwined with two snakes, her feet standing on a new earth emerging from the old earth. The last line on the plaque below read "Love as the master physician".
|Caduceus by James Muir|
All of us are called to be pastors, ministers, priests, imams, rabbis, prophets, gurus, physicians, teachers, healers. All of us have it within us, though often hidden beneath our pain and fear, to use our power which is Love: to bring wholeness, to parent and companion each other, to help everyone come to the awareness that holiness resides within each one of us and within all things.
With or without God, we are not alone. We have each other.