God in the background
past winter, from late December to mid-January, people in
Milwaukee lived without sunshine, andmany of us found ourselves
feeling sluggish, tired and depressed. But then one late
Saturday afternoon, the sun came out and the world was transformed.
Where there had been only buildings and houses and streets
against a flat background of unbroken gray, the sky was suddenly
painted with streaks of pink and pale blue that gave visual
depth and perspective to everything else.
Theologians talk about God as being the
background or horizon of life and creation. It seems like
a strange, elusive way to talk about God, not as easy to warm
to as the image of God as Father or Mother or Friend. But that January day
me an inkling of what the image of “background or horizon” might
mean. Just as the colors of the sky brought out the richness of other things,
the reality and character of God sets the frame and background for everything
else that exists. God is the bright and beautiful sky that sets off the beauty
of the world, adding depth to it, and putting things in perspective. He gives
the world its richness and its proper place.
When we pray, no matter what are
our religious traditions, or the forms and methods of prayer we use, we strengthen
our awareness of God and grow in the
that our lives need not feel like an endless succession of cold, gray, gloomy
days. As we pray, we find ourselves becoming aware of what — or more
accurately Who — lies above and beyond the things around us. As we
pray, we find the winter in our souls finally turning into spring.