Tuesday, September 3, 2019

As The Fishes, We

We Are As The Fishes

“From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’”
Acts 17:26-28 (NRSV)

We live in God as the fishes live in the ocean. Now I can take this metaphor in several directions but what I mean is this. Just as the fishes-and all associated aquatic life-is enveloped and sustained by water, so we are enveloped and sustained by the presence of God. God is to us as water to the fish-it is no coincidence that the Hebrew word ruwach in Genesis 1:2 is variously translated wind, breath, spirit, and mind. God’s breath (different word) animates and sustains Adam; the air he-and we-breath is as water to the fishes. Life-giving breath. The creation breath, Spirit, mind and presence of God as it were.
Think of all aquatic life moving around it’s watery environs; think how we move about our environment. Most of the time we are no more aware of God’s presence than the fishes are of their water. We mostly just take things for granted (and assume our air and water will be clean and fit to sustain life as well). How often do we assume, or even think about, God’s presence? 
If we were in the habit of considering every breath as God’s breath-God’s gracious gift of presence-would things be different? Would there, for instance, be less violence? Less ‘me-ness’ (and less meanness) and more ‘we-ness’? Less division, more harmony? After all, we all breath the same air, we all live in the same presence. Buddhists call this practice mindfulness. They focus on the breath which I’ve been calling the presence of God. Same thing, right? Try it for a minute. Or a day. Take time to remember the ruwach. Take time to be aware. To be thankful. To simply be, in the presence of God. 


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