Excerpts from Emersons’ Gnothi Seauton (Know Theyself)
God dwells in thee.
It is no metaphor nor parable,
It is unknown to thousands, and to thee;
Yet there is God.
Give up to thy soul-----
Let it have its way-----
It is, I tell thee, God himself,
The selfsame One that rules the Whole,
Tho’ he speaks thro’ thee with a stifled voice,
And looks through thee, shorn of his beams.
But if thou listen to his voice,
If thou obey the royal thought,
It will grow clearer to thine ear,
More glorious to thine eye.
The clouds will burst that veil him now
And thou shalt see the Lord.
Therefore be great,
Not proud,-----too great to be proud.
There is nothing else but God
Where e'er I look
All things hasten back to him
Light is but his shadow dim.
Shall I ask wealth or power of God, who gave
An image of himself to be my soul?
As well might swilling ocean ask a wave,
Or the starred firmament a dying coal,-----
For that which is in me lives in the whole.
I have a friend who is genuinely fascinated with her own reflection. It’s not even a matter of vanity, she just gets distracted easily by mirrors. It never fails, we’re walking through the mall and she’ll linger just a little longer as we pass the more reflective windows. Though I feel like this is just a more demonstrative example of something most of us do. We love our image. Our culture is obsessed with it.
Thinks about your morning routine, think about how many things in that routine are for your actual health and longevity as a human as opposed to something that helps you get to that final check in the mirror before you start your day; so we can look ourselves in the eye and and say, “okay, let’s do this”.
How about when there’s a new baby and everyone discusses whose eyes or chin the child has.
We love our image, we love the idea that a child could hold part of that image. That in some way they could be a reflection of us. Sure some of us are obsessed with our image in the opposite way. Wishing we could be more this and have less of that but it’s an obsession none the less.
I’m not sure that this sentiment of self fascination is completely bad. I wonder if it’s not just misdirected? In Genesis we overhear this conversation that appears to be between God, the spirit, and “the word” , where God says, Let us make man in our image. So then we see Adam, made from dust, and given life through some sort of deistic nasal CPR. And this is where life begins with man kind looking into the eyes of love, with the sweet aroma of loves’ breath as the first fragrance. Love is looking back at man, and maybe there is excitement! “He’s got my eyes, and my mouth, oh! oh! and my hands! “
I mean it’s not like God hadn’t been taking a moment to appreciate everything else He’d created to “see that it was good”. So God breathes life into Adam, and Adam awakes intimately close to the face of his creator and God sees the first born of humanity and says, “this is very good”. Sometimes I wonder if the phrases we use to define God like, “God is good” and “God is love” don’t get lost a little. God IS Love, love doesn’t define God, God defines love...What is love? Love IS “GOD”. I think we mix it up sometimes and so when God does something that doesn’t align with our understanding of love we assume that it can’t be of God. Is it possible that Gods ways are bigger than our understanding of Love? Because allowing your only born son to be murdered brutally in front of your eyes doesn’t sound like any love I would be apart of. Not until you zoom out over 10 thousand or so years of human history in need of a dynamic act of compassion and see that Love sent it’s very essence wrapped in humanity to radically repair the damage done when the first of humanity allowed the scent of love to leave his breath and be replaced by the scent of lust. The subtle perversion that severed our intimacy with Love itself.
Maybe “this is very good” could be read as God saying, “this is very me” Like a parent to a child or a painter to a vibrant canvas; it’s that moment after you’ve made the best meal of your life and it’s presented in a breathtaking fashion on the table awakening all of the senses; and you sit back with your hands rested behind your head; and all you can say is, ‘damn that’s good”.