God and Obscurity

psalm 185

God and other artists are always a little obscure

~ Oscar Wilde

I recently finished reading the new novel by Sue Monk Kidd The Invention of Wings. In the story, the main character in the process of becoming a Quaker, sits in Worship, trying to discern the will of God in her personal life. This was the turning point in the story.

And as I sit in Worship this morning I am wondering why should God’s message be obscure? Why should we have to listen so hard to hear a way forward?

In the act of creation  the artist does not always realize the meaning of the work at hand until completion, if ever, sometimes never. Many times the significance is different for the audience than the artist.

The idea that Oscar Wilde links God together with artists as creators speaks to me. Perhaps as co-creators a little obscurity is the norm. Maybe for all of us, including God, the meaning of, or reason for our lives is a work in progress. Do you believe that we have free will to choose our own paths? If so how can the outcome of our choices be known before they are made.

An important point of Quakerism is that God is not an oracle that needs to be interpreted by a priest or minister. You yourself can receive a message from the Spirit. As we sit in our Meeting houses waiting for guidance, with our life choices rolling out in front of us, we are co-creators of this world that we live in. Your personal decisions do matter when it comes to our collective future. We just may not know the consequences of our actions until our lives are complete or with a little Grace, and a whisper from that still small voice within, we may get a hint…

This image is a detail of psalm 185. Click to see the full painting and get more information.

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