May we all be rid of God

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.

Photo by  DJ Paine  on  Unsplash

Photo by DJ Paine on Unsplash

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.

Fighting With a Mystic: Good Friday Edition

Every Holy Week I recall one of Meister Eckhart's teachings that pricks me at my core. While I do as much as I can to distance myself from the difficulties of Christ's life and make excuses for the teachings of Jesus that call me to die to myself, Eckhart's teachings calls me back to a Truth that I don't want to know that I know:

"Scripture says,  "No one knows the Father but the Son." Therefore, if you want to know God, you must not only be like the Son, you must be the Son."

Many of us in the West are not comfortable with poetic mystic language. We tend more toward toward didactic (and verbose) prose. 

Enter Martin Luther. 

In much the same spirit of Eckhart, Luther wrote in The Freedom of a Christian (1520):

"As our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbor through our body and its works, and each one should become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be Christs to one another and Christ may be the same in all, that is, that we may be truly Christians..."

You may have seen on the internet the acronym TLDR which means: Too long, did't read. C.S. Lewis understood that many people were not going to read Eckhart or Luther so he wrote books that were more accessible and shorter. So to quote Lewis from Mere Christianity (1952)

"Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”

As we enter into Good Friday, I confess I am not ready to be a Little Christ.