For the past month, HuffPost has hosted an array of respondents -- including spiritual leaders, world leaders, personalities and celebrities -- who are asked to fill in the blank for the statement: God is...
The series led up to and accompanied the November 13 opening of the documentary Oh My God?
God is a word we use to describe the Ultimate Reality. All language about God is metaphorical, given that, I agree with Ringo Star who says at the end of the film Oh My God? that "God is Love". Now let me tell you what I mean by Divine Love.
I am convinced that built into our DNA is a moral law, and that law can best be described as love that goes out of itself to create. This moral law in us is remnant of our own creation. That creation occurred when what we call God went out of the God-self. This going out of Self to create something other than Self is what I call Divine Love.
God went out of God's Self to create and the universe is the result. That creation continued from space to light to planets, like Earth, to beings to human beings. In the Christian tradition we believe that God went out of himself to come to us in history in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, in his person, gave us the exemplar of self-giving love and taught us how to be self-gift. Through Christ we learn that this giving of self is the core of what it is to be a human being.
Love is not a romantic feeling, love is more than the urge to procreate, however, procreation shows us the nature of the Law of Love. Two people go out of themselves to create another self. They make sacrifices to nurture that other self and so, the Law of Love is perpetuated.
In the Christian tradition the symbol of this going out of self in love is the cross of Jesus Christ. The ultimate gift of self is to give your life in service to others. Jesus, out of integrity to the truth of his relationship with the Ultimate Reality, refused to renounce this truth and the law of love at the heart of his truth. His fidelity got him killed but allowed a deeper truth to emerge: Love does not die.
An important expression of this self-gift we call love is compassion. When we deeply examine our humanity and our needs we become aware that we share that humanity and our needs with others. Our common humanity can touch the common humanity of another. We remember when we were hungry or cold or sick or trapped in a bad situation and we identify with someone who is in a similar situation. We don't say of them, "Oh, that poor thing." We say, "Oh, that poor person." And we consider how we can help them and then we do something, we express our compassion with action. This is the Law of Love at work. To follow this law may require deep sacrifice but it also puts us in harmony with the deepest truth of our selves.
First we look deeply in ourselves and discover our common humanity. Then, for those of a mystical mindset, that is those who recognize a transcendent reality, they look deeply in themselves and discover the Ultimate Reality dwelling in them and can recognize that Ultimate Reality in another person.
A most significant expression of compassion is forgiveness. We give a gift to someone who doesn't deserve it. The gift is releasing the perpetrator from any emotional debt they owe us and renouncing revenge thoughts. We may still need to seek justice. The person who harmed us may need to pay a debt to us or to society but we do not seek retribution. We let go of negative feelings and wish them well.
The Law of Love is worked out in the practicalities of compassion and forgiveness. This Law of Love reflects the nature of what we call God and is built into our human nature. Obviously, people don't follow the Law of Love and when they don't suffering is the result. When we do follow the Law of Love we find ourselves in harmony with our deepest selves and the Ultimate Reality we call God.