Gods & Idols

These worshippers stood in prayer for a good 15 minutes.

These worshippers stood in prayer for a good 15 minutes.

Yesterday was the tomb sweeping festival known as Qingming. Being a national Chinese holiday, many people left to head to the mountains and to the graves to honor the dead. Some, not many,  also went to the temples to thank the various gods, bringing an assortment of food. Most of it still in the Styrofoam containers of the street vendors.

It leaves me a little incomplete to see these small figurines surrounded by food and incense, but that’s what we saw in temple after temple yesterday. Once again I was struck by the wisdom of the second of the Ten Commandments to “Not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath…”
As soon as we try to capture the essence of the divine in any kind of form,it just becomes kind of…pathetic, it seems. The “god” becomes something we dust up, wash off, and feed.  What wisdom to understand that Eternal Wisdom could not be captured in any contained way.
Once again I am struck by the wonder that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, refuses to be made smaller. And instead of accepting a reduced facsimile comes in the rich complexity of life himself.

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