And God’s Table Looked like That
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
I had prayed and asked God
to show me God’s Table—
to let me see for myself
what it would be like
to actually share a meal with
this Divine Reality,
we know as God.
The next thing I knew
I was confronted by and old woman, and
She asked, “Excuse me,
but could you give me a hand, here?
I just can’t do this by myself,
and I need a little help.”
Well, that’s what God said,
and I wondered just a little
what was up with that,
that God would pose a question
like that, to me?
I didn’t know an 80-year old woman
could be God–But it wasn’t just her,
there was a drunk on the sidewalk
and a stinky traveler asking
for some ground coffee
for his hobo village
then my son
then my daughter
my wife… all these, portrayers of Divinity.
But God called me to
table with God
and God looked like that at God’s table!
God. What a concept! My more romantic, sentimentalist friends have an idea of God that is as fantastic as anything I’ve studied in mythology. And of course, Christianity is considered a myth–our/my myth, but a myth nonetheless. Understand of course that a myth is simply the best, most efficacious, heart-felt way a people has to express the who of themselves as a people. And is that not what Christianity does for many of us, express us as a people?
God, however is a totally different concept for each one of us humans–us Christians, too. I consider myself as a Christian who understands the power of metaphor. If we understand the notion of metaphor, we can understand the workings of God a little better, than with systematic, or dogmatic, theology.
In systematic theology, God is understood by way of a series of expressed categories, such as: how best to express the nature of Christian Doctrine. It is a taxonomy of qualifications or , or a catalog of expressions or doctrines of ways of thinking of God. Sometimes it is used in reference to worship and liturgy, sometimes it is used as a method of teaching, as in a catechism (Catholic or Prote
stant), generally, however, I think that both systematic and dogmatic theologies strongly imply “right thinking,” “correc
t worship,” or basically, “this is how we do it.”
I think of all theological propositions and concepts as metaphorical. This means that God just is… God is whatever comes after the is. God is… God is…
God is Love. God is
Almighty. God is Omnipotent, God is Omniscient, God is Impassible, blaaaagh!!! As Chuck Berry would sing, “Too much monkey business for me!” As far as I can tell, these are all considered to be the opposite of human nature, and so have been made into the Godly nature. Well, you do know that there are theologians and Christians in general that think anything of nature is evil, and nasty, and generally no-good.
I am not sure how this works as far as God is concerned. I think God may well be more than a little troubled that God’s creation thinks of itself as not very well made, and somehow yucky.
I suspect that God’s Table IS OF AND FOR God’s Creation–all of it.
But, to continue my thoughts on metaphor.
Anytime you say that something IS something else you are using a metaphor. AND you are using a metaphor because you are trying to help the person to whom you are speaking to understand the thing about which you are speaking. I suspect the reason that there are so many metaphors about the Divine Being is because the idea of God just can’t be grasped by either the human mind or human imagination. There are some problems with this.
One problem that comes to my mind it that we humans, being of small imaginations, tend to easily confuse the metaphor with the real thing. Another problem, is once the metaphor is confused with the real thing, the metaphor itself is forgotten. If God refused to be contained when the Hebrews wanted to put God in a tent, how more strongly will God refuse to be contained by a metaphor. Another problem I see is that mainly, humans are fear-driven and need life to be as tidy as they can get it, and God is not very tidy at all. God still will not be contained.
This is why I understand God’s table as something like a soup kitchen. Messy, over-run with hungry, needy people, loud and hemorrhaging with fear and pain, and harboring more grace and healing and comfort than can be imagined! God’s Table looks like this!