Of Cartoons, Children, and a Still-Speaking God
Then the Lord said to Noah… – Genesis 7:1 (NRSV)
When I was about six years old, I watched a cartoon about Noah’s ark in which God’s voice was represented by a sunbeam. Whenever the sunbeam shone on Noah, he would hear God telling him what to do.
I remember riding in the back seat of the family car around that time, my short legs hanging over the edge of the seat, and the sky the only thing my wide eyes could see through the window.
Whenever I glimpsed a sunbeam, I would think, “God is talking to somebody!” I wondered if God would ever speak to me.
That memory has never left me. Neither has my sense of a God who speaks to us – not in words, necessarily, but with love and tenderness.
Sometimes, I’ve longed desperately for a word from God and heard nothing. Other times I’m sure God was clamoring for my attention but I wasn’t listening. When a holy word has come, in whatever form, it has left me both grateful and hungering for more.
These days I have a divinity degree, a ministry, a spiritual director, and my own spiritual practices. Yet sometimes I must still remind myself that if God really speaks through sunbeams, suffering, nature, prayer, the poor, music, my neighbor, and who knows what else, I’d best go stand in a ray of filtered light – or wherever the Spirit of Love might be.
Where do you perceive God best? What are the memories, images, sounds, and situations that serve as spiritual gateways for you? How might you put yourself in their path today?
For sunbeams, cartoons, and every little thing that opens our hearts to your tender word, we give you thanks and praise.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.