>My daughter is practicing to be a method actor. She is playing a nun, and for the past several weeks has been carrying around an old Bible and a rosary. To strengthen her role even further, she has asked me to take her to the Cathedral in St. Paul, which I am happy to do.
Approaching the Cathedral and seeing its dome, I picture my grandfather as a young boy climbing its naked structure while it was being built- so the story goes.
Walking through the large wooden doors, instantly I feel holy and want to do all the catholic rituals. I point my finger in the holy water and I dab in the appropriate spots, father, son, holy spirit- except when I say ‘son’ I absentmindedly apply the water to my chin instead of my chest. We laugh, which doesn’t feel holy.
Walking further into the church, the pressure of the outside world deflates and the quiet within the walls surround me. I can hear the strange echoes of a man chanting. He sounds like he is far away, but as I continue to walk he is nearby reading verses from the Bible. …“our father who art in heaven…” with his rosary in hand. I am envious of his bravery to pronounce out loud, echoes and all, his dedication to God.
I see a man praying, and I wonder what ails him if anything. Others come through the wooden doors taking their places, kneeling at altars or sitting in the pews in silent communion with God. The confessionals are open. What would I say… “forgive me father for I have sinned” does not sit well with me- Where have I sinned and why should I confess? I sit in the pews and look up above at the large dome and I read these words; “Truly this is none other than the house of God and gate of Heaven.”
For a second I am in awe of what must have been the deep and euphoric love of God to build such a structure. The same love which moved Rumi to write his poetry and Michelangelo to find David amidst the marble. Or I wonder, especially since reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth was this structure built alongside the ego’s wanting to be the best structure in the world. Who could know.
I sit in quiet contemplation, feeling the presence and energy of God: “Truly this is none other than the house of God….” I know God cannot be housed in this structure alone. It cannot contain the All that is God. And does not every church and its people believe that God is there in their structure too? How naive to presume that God is not everywhere.
I do not need to define God. I don’t need to contain God. I have no desire to hold God accountable to my petty understandings of Him now, later or before. I only call Him, Him now because it is what comes to me, but I need not know if God is a him or a her, if God is within our without. I only desire to feel God, to know God more intimately than I do now. God is every thing- every where. God is all.
Leaving the Cathedral the world outside is still moving, in what looks like random chaos, and I am more present- more still- more aware within it. I can appreciate all the strucutres of this world, which provide a space for us to experience God, however we choose to experience Him or Her or Both or All or Nothing.