Flying back from Detroit a few weeks ago, I gazed out the window at the spectacular clouds. On this day, they looked like you see them in storybooks, so white, so full, so beautiful. An amazing blue sky held them in place. And, as I looked at them I thought of how we imagine that God and angels are up here sitting in the clouds, looking down on us. While the clouds looked so full and firm, I thought how if any being truly “sat down” on them, they would free fall.
Last night as I tucked my 11year old into bed, we did our examen for the day. Best part of your day? Worst part of your day? I tried to explain to her where this idea comes from, the examen. I shared with her that I like to think of it as where I saw God in my day or where I didn’t see Him at all. She thought for a bit.
“Where is God?”
I told her I used to think of God as out there, or up there. But now, I just don’t see it that way. I see Him being part of Creation, part of all of us.
“Ya,” she said. “I used to think of Him at sitting on a throne in the clouds. But not anymore. Now, I see him more like an earthworm.”
I had to check myself at this point and keep my mouth shut, where was she going with this one?
“You know, like you can cut up an earthworm into many parts and it is still that earthworm. It’s is in all the pieces and all the pieces are part of it.”
Ok, so I did a little research on earthworms and basically the idea is that you can cut away parts of a worm and it can regenerate those parts. It isn’t like you can dice up an earthworm and all those pieces make new worms. BUT, I do think she was on to something…
What if God looks nothing like we imagine? What if we are able to sit with the idea that the God we have created in our heads is only an image of ourselves as humans? What do we do when how we view God doesn’t work for us anymore? What do we do when we realize a cloud just would never hold a throne?
For some of us, our childhood faith has stopped working for us as it used to. And if we let it fall apart, we can prepare ourselves for some new ideas and new ways of seeing God that are like nothing we’ve ever imagined. When our old way of experiencing God unravels, it’s easy to panic. But if we sit with that uneasiness, if we allow old way of thinking fall apart, if we let the church and the people around us into that, we are going to see many things in a new way.
Even possibly God as an earthworm.