There is something poetic we think about banishing God from our lives. Like spoiled children who little understand real justice or mercy, we pretend that our modern conception of things is at the very least right, since He rejected us first from the Garden where all good things grew.
And while it is true to mention that we had to leave the place of our origins, it is equally true that God followed us where we never expected Him to go.
Consistent with ancient understanding, we thought He would stay in His house, in His temple, and in His tent; but what we found was a God who feared not the journey. Unlike the gods we knew of, we discovered along with Abraham that this God is not the nomen locale but the nomen personale, (i.e. not the local god but the personal god), and He walked with us for a particular purpose.
“And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.” Exodus 25:8
Over and over again in the Scriptures, God made the effort to live among us, not to set back the clock to a time before a serpent came sauntering in, but to bring us to fulfillment and to make our joy complete.
What we have failed to understand however, is that God’s intention to live with us has never wavered. His intention to love us has never ceased. Even as we were forced to leave our first home, it wasn’t because God could no longer stand the sight of us but that we could not stand the sight of Him.
And so we must come to understand that looking at God and living with God are two sides of the same coin. This is the instinct we find in the first couple who, having done something worthy of banishment, immediately hide from God’s sight. This is the brilliance found in the Eucharist which is a real presence of Jesus among His people even today. Housed in a monstrance we all look upon the God who lives among us. This is also the fact of our final destination, as living with God in heaven means beholding His face (something we like to call ‘the beatific vision’).
There is no poetry in our death. If we want to live, then we have to learn to look at Him who is love. We have to stop acting like spoiled children. God wants to abide with us. It is time to choose.
“…and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them…” Revelation 21:3