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What Does it Mean To Be A Child of God?

What Does it Mean To Be A Child of God?

The writer, John, reminds us in today’s Epistle that we are God’s children.  I have heard this so often that it has almost lost its meaning for me.  It conjures up images of a gentle, kindly papa holding willing, happy children in his lap.  Everyone is smiling.

This is not my understanding of God, nor of my relationship with God, these days.  And yet, there is something in the image of being God’s child that can be helpful.

Lately I have been imagining God as the Creative, the pulsing vibrancy of bringing-into-being.  I see God in the creation of suns, the shaping of worlds, and in every expression of beauty I know.  God is the author of a billion shapes, sounds, colors and creatures.

We have certain built-in receptors — eyes, ears, noses, skin, and tongues — through which we perceive some of God’s infinite creating.  We find our perceptions beautiful and meaningful.  In our curiosity we have designed myriad instruments to enhance our natural sense organs.  All of these traits in us are signs of our kinship with God the Creative.

Running through all our souls is a stream of creativity that comes straight from that God source.  In our inventive expression we are children of the Creative author of the Universe.  A weaving, a loaf of bread, a crocheted hat, a clay monster, a song or a painting — all are sacred expressions that stem from being children of the Holy One.

God is also in the still darkness and the terrifying abyss.  As we honor the dark unknown at the center of our own beings we tap into who we are as God’s children.  Resting in the peace of the lightless void, the empty silence, we breathe into kinship with our Creator.  God is the presence before life begins and after its glimmer is extinguished.  Knowing God is unknowing everything else.  As God’s children, like baby turtles find the ocean, we can find that knowing.

Most importantly, God is love.  Learning what that means is a life-long study.  It isn’t warm feelings and the removal of stumbling blocks from our paths.  It is a profound showing up for the essence of who we are.  A deep respect, a commitment to each soul, a desire to draw us to God’s self and to have no separation between us — those are the bits of God’s love that I have so far perceived.

And so my kinship with God is reflected in my relationships with my brothers and sisters.  When I have that same respect for their essence, when I am fully committed to their wellbeing — when I literally would do for them anything I would do for myself — I am living out of my nature as a child of God.

But don’t let me get in your way.  Reflect for yourself on who God is for you today — and, therefore, on what it means to you that you are a child of God.  In what ways do you see that relationship manifesting within you?


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