When God Gets Cranky – Two Amazing Things You learn

When God Gets Cranky – Two Amazing Things You learn

Here is the story. God has brought his people out of slavery in Egypt. He has given them a new land, all the good stuff. But you will not be surprised, they try to fit in with their neighbours and begin to create and worship other Gods, aka Idols.

Naturally God is unhappy, and what really makes him cranky is who they are replacing him with. In his words,

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.

They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.

They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.

They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk;

they make no sound in their throats. Psalm 115:3-9

In other words, their Gods are created by human hands and made of wood, stone, or precious metals. God could has said just that – but he does not. Tellingly he says, their idols do not have the five senses. And they are mute.

The implications are revealing. The first implication is that, unlike these idols, God has five senses! So:

God has a mouth that speaks,eyes that see,

ears that hear,

a nose that smells,

hands that feel,

and feet that walk.

In some mysterious manner, our God is sensual. Think about that. Think what this means for the way God relates to us, touches us, feels us.

Furthermore, no human created God, rather God created us. And, in an extraordinary, generous move, God created us in God’s image.

Which leads us to the second amazing implication of his cranky words. We are created with five senses because they reflect in some mysterious way the senses of our Creator.

So when we pray with our five senses we are:

Speaking with God, mouth to mouth,Seeing God, eye to eye,

Listening to each other, ear to ear,

Smelling each other, nose to nose,

Feeling each other, hand to hand,

And walking together, foot beside foot.

Indeed, praying with the five senses may be the premier way of praying because the intimacy and synergy between Creator and creature. Like the Eskimo and the Māori meeting one another, it does not get much closer than nose touching nose, breathing each other’s breath.

St Ignatius in his own guidebook for finding intimacy with God, the Spiritual Exercises, gives the ‘Prayer of the Five Senses’ in three different forms, and asks that it be prayed daily.

In May 2024 JISA offered an online experience of praying the senses with IM24 Song of the Senses. Contact us today if you would like to purchase the recordings and resources of this convocation.

To conclude, St Paul, echoing God’s revelation of his senses above, insists our faith is not solely in our heads, but comes from a sensual experience of God:

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— this life was revealed. 1 Jn 1:1-4

With thanks to Michael Hansen SJ for this contribution to the JISA Discernment Series. Michael is the Director of JISA’s First Spiritual Exercises Ministry, a renowned author and retreat giver and the creator of the IM series of online convocations.