You know there are several questions Zambians ask when they meet you in the bush. This is going to sound bad, but I’m serious. The first is, “Who are you?” (meaning what’s your name, where do you stay, and what do you do); “Muzungu!” You’re a foreigner! Muzungu literally translates as wanderer/foreigner. It’s also become associated with status, particularly with white privledge and status. A well to do black Zambian might be called a Muzungu if he’s doing very well, or has achieved a certain status (this is terrible). In rural areas the association with wealth and skin color are very frustrating, with white skin often associated with the question of, “Will you buy me something”); and, “What church do you go to? Mulipeepa kwi?”
Now the prejudice and social conditioning that all whites are rich and can give aid aside, and that white privilege is something to strive for, that last question comes up a lot. Accompanied by, do you believe in God, why don’t I see you at church, and are you Christian.
Zambia, my friends, is a Christian nation. On that note, it’s a good impetus to delve deep into my subconscious, and in light of the recent loss of a very dear loved one, it’s a damned good time to be thinking of God.
So, who and what is God to me? Who is this power? What does it mean, and more, what happens when we die? It should be noted just here, that as a health worker in the hyper-rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, I fight like hell to keep people alive every day and almost on a daily basis in this season I have to watch them die despite our every effort. That situation fuels a lot of thought toward God, death, and existence. If I couldn’t process it, I’d go crazy or break down and be unable to function. That wouldn’t help anyone now would it?
Now, Let’s get a-thinking! In my understanding of the Bible, God is everything, it’s everywhere, she’s in all things, he’s a part of every moment. Isn’t that right? Whether God is vengeful, genocidal, loving, forgiving, or understanding, this God, my God, is energy. God is both all things and nothing specific.
Take a moment and join me, rocking this concept a bit on your front porch. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change form. Like a beam of light, God is a living representation of the energy of the universe. Energy (God) is in all things. Our life force is what? Energy. At a basic level our soul, that thing that drives us and keeps us living, is energy. We understand energy as being indestructible. It cannot be created or destroyed. It can only change form.
When we die, that is exactly what happens. Our energy, our soul, leaves our body, is changed, and dispersed among all of creation. That rock, that fly, those fireflies playing in a field in the pitch black of the African night, for no other audience than the stars … That’s God.
So what happens when we die? I believe that when we die, we go to join God. But remember that God is all things, and all things are God. What does that mean? It means heaven – the kingdom of God, the place we go to be with her, is all things. It’s the entire universe, every tiny atom, and every huge system. That, my friends is God, and that is heaven. Joining and being connected to all things, being a part of all creation. That is where we all go.
Science is a way of understanding the world around us. Faith is a way of understanding those things we can’t explain…yet. God is love and a synchronicity with all things. Put forth positive energy, visualize positive results, and the universe will reward you 10 fold. Ask and ye shall receive, give and ye shall be given. Give energy and receive it in return. Live, die, but never be apart from those you love. Instead literally become a part of them, and every other thing in the universe.
I know my loved ones are with me always. They are in everything I do and everything I see and touch.
I love you Ed, Marie, Phyllis, Dave, Dale, and Lynn. You’re with me always. Every life I save, every person I help, I know that it’s a part of you helping me, acting through me for them.
God is inside of us, part of everything. It’s not some church, or a figure, or suffering and torture. It isn’t martyrdom. God is that voice and energy inside us that guides us and leads us to the future. We are God and God is us. In harmony, we are united. When we act for the greater good, we act for all of the others with whom we are connected.
God bless, but as God is inside each of us, it isn’t for that power to make overt actions. It’s for us to act. It’s for us to bless. It’s for us to sacrifice and demonstrate what we know is right. It isn’t for some alien and foreign power. But for us, as conduits of God, to do. It’s our choice to listen, heed that force and act. As Marcus Aurelius said – It’s up to us.
So, when I’m asked that very serious question, do you know what I say? I say, “I pray in here, inside of me.” God is a part of who I am. God is that voice which tells me right from wrong. I pray anywhere I am. I pray through my actions and activities, not through empty words in a cold forsaken building – although God is there as well. I recognize the God inside of me. Others recognize the force in community, meditation, etc. So be it. Our understanding of God is extremely personal – I mean come on – we are made up of God and each of us is totally different. Isn’t that what makes God beautiful? My God isn’t your God – but at the same time – it is.
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