Who speaks for God? When I was a child, my grandmother told me that my mother and father spoke for God. In grade school, the sisters told me that the priest spoke for God. High school teachers told me that the pope spoke for God. In college my professors assured me that Scripture, the Church and whoever spoke truth spoke for God. I began to sense a direction in these conversations.
Today many people listening closely for the word of God have come to accept that God speaks through life: all life but, most powerfully, human life – everyone’s life. Life reflects God most fully and in the longing for life reflects the longing for God at its most intense.
The more carefully folks attend to human life, the more clearly they see that it can’t be detached from the earth in which it dwells in and of which it’s a part. Seeing this, they have come to think of the entire earth and, to the extent we understand it, the universe beyond, as God speaking to us.
Christians may wonder if this experience of God in all of creation supersedes the experience of God in our Tradition. It doesn’t. What it does do is place the Word of God that the Church has conveyed to us into a context beyond measure.
Today we have to re-hear the story of Jesus. Christians of the New Testament era had to translate the story of Jesus from its Jewish context into the culture of the Greek and Roman world. We have to hear Jesus with the ears of world-wide humanity, of the planet itself and the universe beyond. If just moving the experience of Jesus from the world of first century Judaism into the Greco-Roman world pushed our faith to the edge of its breaking point, what will happen as we immerse it in the world that science and communication is opening up today! No wonder the Church feels so unsettled; God is drastically widening the horizons of our faith.
As our grade school teachers said when we had to cross a dangerous street, “Hold tight to the hand of the boy or girl next to you.”