This Is Life Eternal. Right Here. Right Now.
For this is life eternal, that they know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hath sent. ~ John 17:3
It’s hard to remember just exactly when I realized God speaks every language. And not just current languages, but all the lost languages and all the emerging dialects. More importantly, God speaks the language of each proverbial heart. God speaks Melody and Karen and Jill and Sarah and every other named and personal understanding of humankind.
I do remember a few year ago when I had a conversation with one of my neighbors who, like me, is an active Latter-day Saint. He and I were discussing a certain gospel principle. We shared how the spirit had taught us truth. The images used by the spirit to teach my friend involved this friend climbing back up on a horse after falling off. My revelatory images involved a harp, whose strings continued to vibrate even after the sound was no longer audible. God had spoken to each of us, had taught us the same truth, led us to the same conclusion, but through two entirely different spiritual dialects.
This idea has recently pressed upon me again. I read about a man who had found his Queer God, a God he could understand and whom he felt understood his own unique life experience. Then I thought about all the people on the planet who have found God. All the women and men and children who commune in their own way with the divine every day. I thought about Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims. We can study one another’s beliefs to gain understanding of each religion’s theology. But to truly know another religion’s God, we must be willing to know the individuals within these religions. Because each of them has a unique way of interpreting what their faith tradition tells them about who, what, and how God is. Each person speaks a different language when she prays. Each receives revelation and enlightenment in her own tongue.
Jesus Christ is my Savior, my brother and my mortal compass. I truly believe He is my advocate with the Father and Mother. Yet, my experience of Christ may differ from your experience of Christ.
Surely, coming to know God is a life long process for most of us. And until we return Home, we will likely only approximate an understanding of the true nature of God. But Joseph Smith said, “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God” (Teachings, 345). So, this quest for knowledge of the Divine is worthy of our greatest efforts.
I am allowing myself to feel discomfort about the idea of someone else’s queer God. That isn’t how I see the Divine. I also feel discomfort about the fact that few people will share my personal understanding of God. However, I can’t help but feel that if we are all made in the image of God, if the divine is expressed through every one of us, then surely each person has some piece of Godliness that is only reflected through his or her unique Self.
A few individuals will be blessed with a personal visitation or vision of the Savior. A few have seen Deity as a burning bush, in a pillar of light, or in a dream. Perhaps the rest of us can come to know God, not only through a personal relationship with the spirit, but also, by being willing to truly know and love each other. Even when it makes us feel uncomfortable.
Victor Hugo wrote, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” I used to think this was a beautiful metaphor for the divine power of Love. Now I’m beginning to believe it is a mandate – at least for me personally:
To love another person is to learn their language. To learn their language is to see a facet of God that we may otherwise never have seen.
Have you seen the face of God?
How do you envision our divine parents or the Savior?