Wednesday, February 28, 2007

That of God: my original face

I began reading Jan de Hartog's first novel in his trilogy about Quakers, The Peaceable Kingdom. It's about George Fox and the beginning of the Religious Society of Friends or, The Children of the Light as they were known in the very beginning. He describes George Fox telling Margaret Fell about going before the judge who gave us the nickname of 'Quakers':
"I was not insulting him. I was trying to reach that of God in him, hidden behind all those barriers."
"Which barriers?"
"A powdered wig, a scarlet robe, a woolsack."
"But those are symbols of his office!"
"They turned him into a symbol too. As he sat there looking down on me, he did not hold himself personally accountable for his judgments. To Justice Gervase Bennett, goodness, kindness, compassion, regard for a prisoner's humanity had no place in his decisions; he could hang a human being without compunction. Jerry would never dream of doing such a thing; he would be unable to do it. For me to have accepted the symbol would have meant to betray that of God within him. So I called him Jerry and told him that the day would come when he too would quake in the presence of the Lord."
Reading that helped me understand a little better that when we speak to 'that of God' in one another, we're speaking to that which is eternal, beyond ego. Van Morrison has a beautiful song, Before the World Was Made which I think speaks to this:

"If I paint the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And your lips more scarlet
Ask if it'll all be right
And it's mirror after mirror
No vanities displayed
You're just looking for the face you had
Before the world was made

And if I look upon you now
As though I have my view
With the earth beneath your feet
And heaven up above
Would you think me cruel
After everything's been said
You're only looking for the face you had
Before the world was made
Before the world was made
Before the world was made"

When I speak to that of God in you, I speak from my deepest soul to yours. I speak to what is true and lasting, not what is facade and changeable. I think the more centered and aware of 'that of God' in myself, the more I am able to speak to it in others. It's hardest with those closest to me, the ones I take for granted, the ones I love the most. And people who aren't' 'my cup of tea' (as my grandmother would say).
Today I will try to speak from my heart rather than from my self. Today I will try to be aware of my 'original face'.

No comments: