It is said that Meister Eckhart said, “I pray that God would rid me of God.” The literal reading of this line makes no sense at all. Why would one pray to the very one desired to be rid of?
But of course mystics and religious teachers rarely work in the literal.
We all have images of God that provide us with comfort and a sense of security. Of course we do not call them “images of God,” we just think of what we are thinking of as God. Thus when we talk about God, we are really talking about the image of God we have in our mind. No matter how convinced we are, the image of God we call God is not God. It is only an approximation of God.
Thus to be “rid” of God is not to be without the presence of the Creator of the universe, but to be “rid” of the image of God we carry in our mind that is there only to justify our own positions. It has been said that if God always agrees with you then your God is too small.
Eckheart’s prayer to be “rid of God” is to be rid of the small image of god we carry with us that we use to justify our actions, beliefs and views. To ask God to rid us of God is a prayer of repentance of idolatry.
This Christmas season, the God we encounter in the manger and the meek, mild, quite and innocent God we have in our heads are different.
May this Christmas may we all be rid of God so to be saved by God.