Question

How do we experience God?

David Arnow Jewish

We can experience God in our deepest relationships because we are all created in God’s image. After reconciling with his long estranged brother, Jacob tells Esau that “to see your face is like seeing the face of God” (Genesis 33:10). I’ve also felt glimmers of God in moments of prayer, studying sacred texts, standing before nature, striving for social justice, in the midst of writing, and in great music. The encounter is fleeting — and startling. God sneaks up on us, as it were. The key is being open. “Where is God?” a Hassidic Rebbe asked. “Wherever you let God in.”

Mary C. Boys Christian

We experience the “infinitely incomprehensible holy mystery of God” in myriad ways: in loving relationships, in mindfulness and gratitude, in beholding beauty, in prayer and silence, in the quotidian demands of our lives, in ritual and liturgy, in moments of amazement, in communion with all living creatures, in study and contemplation, in acts of justice and peace, and in forgiving and being forgiven. The Divine Presence permeates our world, if only we have ears to hear and eyes to see. There exists, says Brazilian theologian Ivone Gebara, a “whole spirituality focused on the elemental things of life, in friendships, in the little joys of everyday”; these manifest the “dailiness of salvation.”*

Muhammad Shafiq Muslim

The relationship between God and people is an intimate one. People are the vicegerent of God (2: 30) and represent His image on earth. The Qur’anic concept that God is closer to a human being than his/her jugular vein means to search God within oneself, not outside. The Qur’an refers to a primordial covenant of mutual relationship between God and humanity at the very creation of human being (7:172). Every person is imbued with moral failings as well as with consciousness of God from the start of his/her life (91:7, 8). The human heart is the center of attention in Islam. If the heart is clean and pure and filled with good deeds, a Muslim is conscious of the presence of God and experiences His presence within him/herself. A darker heart filled with bad deeds prevents a believer from such experience. The five pillars in Islam prepare a Muslim to cleanse his/her heart to experience God’s presence.

Note: Translation of the Qur’anic verses and many of the Hadith translation with references were taken from Islamicity.com; some translations of and references to the Hadith were taken from ahadith.co.uk.

10 responses to “How do we experience God?”

  1. Guest says:

    Deacon Jim Carper •

    Last year I was doing a series of classes for a group of people
    interested in becoming Catholic (Christian). I was trying to explain the
    concept of God’s grace, but found myself struggling. Suddenly, one of
    the members cried out “Look!” and pointed out the window. A beautiful
    pink evening sky greeted us with a rainbow cutting through the center of
    it. “I think God just checked in,” I said. “Let’s go outside.” We stood
    outside and watched the sun set and the rainbow disappear. Then we
    prayed together and left in silence. Sometimes we need to stop looking
    for God long enough to let him find us.

  2. From Deacon Jim Carper, via LinkedIn:

    Last year I was doing a series of classes for a group of people
    interested in becoming Catholic (Christian). I was trying to explain the
    concept of God’s grace, but found myself struggling. Suddenly, one of
    the members cried out “Look!” and pointed out the window. A beautiful
    pink evening sky greeted us with a rainbow cutting through the center of
    it. “I think God just checked in,” I said. “Let’s go outside.” We stood
    outside and watched the sun set and the rainbow disappear. Then we
    prayed together and left in silence. Sometimes we need to stop looking
    for God long enough to let him find us.

  3. Jackie Blue says:

    For me, always in helping others. The overall warm and fuzzy feeling of helping a neighbor, the elderly, sitting with a sick person, volunteering at a soup kitchen, charity work, etc. The joy you feel which is beyond you or greater than you because you’ve given encouragement and caring to another. What Jews call healing the world, tikkun olam :)

  4. mkevinc says:

    I experience God
    through his Creations!

    By Evangelist Christine Thomas, via LinkedIn

  5. By letting in the
    good and knowing who you are in Christ Jesus

    – From lightheartedfaith InJesusname, via LinkedIn

  6. mkevinc says:

    Via LinkedIn, from Taher Amini Golestani, PhD, Hujjatul Islam:

    It depends on what we mean by ” experience”. I mostly take it as ‘
    feeling God, the Almighty”. I see God int the eyes of my parents when
    they look at me, the only friends who never even think to bother you. I
    see God in the eyes of Orphans who wish someone to pet him. I see God in
    the works of those who want to bring love among humanity.

    “To God belong the East and the West whithersoever you turn, there is
    the Face of God God is All embracing, All knowing”.(Qur’an 2:115)

  7. Kevin says:

    By Allyson Szabo, via LinkedIn:

    I actually had
    this conversation yesterday afternoon, after I was done presiding at the
    Fraternal Order of Eagles memorial service up at the Cathedral of the Pines. :)
    For me, God (Goddess, Them, All, Divine, etc.) is in the world, in others, and
    all around us. When I stand in the forest at the Cathedral, I see a “church not
    made with hands.” When I kneel before an altar, God is there. When I bow in a
    mosque or dance in a temple, I know God is around me. When I look into the eyes
    of my children, I see God. :)

  8. Kevin says:

    God sneaks up on us, as it were. The key is being open. “Where is God?” a Rebbe asked. “Wherever you let God in.” ow.ly/kxOcK— Exodus Conversations (@ExodusChat) May 20, 2013

    From Rachel Barenblat, via Twitter

  9. Kevin says:

    @exoduschat @velveteenrabbi Omnipresent is omnipresent. God is there whether invited or not. The question: Are you acknowledging him?— Stu Mark (@stumark) May 20, 2013

    From Stu Mark, via Twitter

  10. David says:

    I agree that we experience God in our closest relationships. But why is it so difficult for human beings to treat each other as images of God?

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