Changing the Way We See God
(Week of Ash Wednesday)
Lent is a time for ‘metanoia’. That’s a Greek word, often translated as ‘repent’ or ‘turn away from sin’. That’s what I understood until I read Fire Starters written by Bishop Richard Sklba. Bishop Sklba describes ‘metanoia’ as ‘changing the way we see God’.
My earliest image of God was ‘The Policeman in the Sky’. Seeing God that way certainly shaped my early life. For lots of years I spent much time and energy trying to change my sinful self so that God would not be disappointed in me. In itself that’s not a bad thing, but it’s a pretty narrow way of seeing God.
15 or 20 years ago I started to see God as the Good Shepherd who loves and heals me. That image of God comforts me. It helps me to see myself as someone whom God loves even though I’m a sinner.
But now my way of seeing God is changing again in the light of Pope Francis who sees God as the friend of the poor and of those on life’s periphery. How does that way of seeing God touch me? How am I poor? This way of seeing God is leading me to recognize my dependency on God.
These changing ways of seeing God also affect how I look at others. When I saw God as the ‘Policeman’, I was more judgmental. When I see God as merciful, I see others more kindly. When I see God as a friend of the poor, it opens my eyes to see the poverty that we all share.
How has your way of seeing God changed over the years? Is there a new way to see God that will help you to see yourself and others in a different light?