Is Christianity really a monotheistic religion? That is the question that has been swirling around in my mind for quite some time now and not giving me peace. Not my Heart though, my Heart is at peace about my relationship with the Divine in its many forms, manifestations and expressions. It’s just that my mind needs a definitive, cut and dry, black and white definition. It needs a tidy answer and not one with loopholes and variations.
Christ Himself spoke about and to Abba, the Father. He also spoke about the Holy Spirit or the Ruach Elohim or The Spirit/Wind/Breath of God. Jesus, Yeshua also said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” John 11:25. There are the three, the Trinity. One body, different parts. I get it. I accept it. And, I live it.
Theotokos (God Bearer) / Mother Mary
Having been born into the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic faith/religion, (Ukrainian = national church of the Rus/Ukrainian peoples, Greco-Catholic = orthodox faith originating from Constantinople which is in communion with the bishop of Rome, the pope), and having been a very ardent participant in it for most of my life there are other entities to whom I/we had prayed to. One of them is the Theotokos, Mary, the God Bearer. Yes, I know that technically we don’t “pray to her, but ask her to petition the Son, her Son, our Son, the Son of Man/Woman” just like she did at the wedding of Cana and He listened and responded by turning water into wine.This is an explanation and maybe even a justification for reaching out to her and praying to/through her with the Rejoice*/Hail Mary.
It is very comforting at times reaching out to a feminine version of the Divine. It is as though sometimes in life we need the gentle, loving, and nurturing embrace of a Divine Mother. On earth we came through a masculine and feminine, a mother and father. Both provided a different kind of support and comfort. It is balanced between the male which is analytical and strong with female which is feeling and gentle. Both of these qualities and energies are in each one of us. Thus, why would they also not been the Divine Realm in whose “image and likeness”, Book of Genesis we are made.
Now, I am primarily a practicing Roman Catholic. When I made the switch I felt I was turning my back and being unfaithful and adulterous to my “mother church” and my spiritual mother. But it was she who kept pushing me out of her nest and every time I went back, she made it very uncomfortable and uneasy for me. She said, “Go. Leave. There is nothing for you here. Spread your wings. Grow spiritually. Savor, learn, and nourish yourself with other faiths, traditions, and understandings of the Divine.” I did, even though it broke my Heart and tore it to pieces to do so. But mother knew best. She was right. In hindsight I realize now that I worshipped her and her traditions more than I worshiped the Divine. My religion had become my golden calf. Had she not pushed me out of the nest, I never wold have fallen in love with the Divine. My love affair would have remained with religion, the earthly vessel to the Divine, instead of the Divine Themselves.
In both the catholic and orthodox faiths there are saints. Whatever your quest, query or quiver may be, “there’s a saint for that”. The technical term is “venerating” the saints as opposed to “praying to” the saints. Serious saint followers are ardent around saint relics and objects. It is a sight to behold – much significance and power is projected onto the items. Or maybe, subconsciously it is a practice in raising and attuning the vibration of one’s own energy to that of the saint.
I myself have at times have called upon and called in the Spirit and energy of certain saints. Growing up, Saint Nicholas was one who was near and dear to me. I sang to him a lot. But I’m not so sure that I listened to him. At that point in my life, it was one way communication with the Divine. I had not learned how to listen yet. Then there was a period in my life when I was in a serious battle, a battle for the essence of my life, and Saint Joan of Arc and I, it felt as though we were One. Her strong, bold, courageous, determined and single minded trust in The Voice and Its message of ‘we can beat the odds and drive out the long-standing invaders’ energy was all around me, within me, and running through me. I do not think any of these saint connections were conscious choices but something that rose up from within me.
In both the Hebrew and Christian texts there are stories and accounts of Angels. We each have been assigned a guardian angel or two. There are rote prayers to angels which we recite either at bedtime or in the morning.
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here; Watch over me throughout the night, keep me safe within your sight.
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide.
A times I find great comfort in reciting these prayers, either in my Heart or out loud. In my journey of delving into the Divine realm, I learned that just like with saints, there are angels for different needs in our lives, and that there are different levels of Angels. Now, I call upon specific angels for specific assistance.
I’ve also learned how to look out for their signs and methods of communication. They may use numbers, feathers, pennies/change on the street, songs, feelings, dreams, persistent thoughts, coincidences… to get our attention and direct our steps.
Icons & Statutes
I like having visual aids and reminders in our house of the Divine Realm. I like seeing Them and being surrounded by them. They are reminders to me that I am never alone on either the earthly or the spiritual realms, regardless if a person is next to me or not. They raise my thoughts to the heavenly realm and remind me to “take the higher road” in my thoughts, attitudes, speech and actions. I do not think that I worship the icons and statues, but they do assist me in my worship.
The Fourth Commandment
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20 (NIV)
Every religion and every faith and even the way of spirituality has Divine “tools” and customs – even the Shamans. If the Divine is Spirit, then any and all Divine writings, paintings, statutes, traditions, trinkets, amulets, talismans are technically in violation of the Fourth Commandment. The Spirit is always flowing and always in a graceful dance with the Divine leading The Way without the need of any props or objects. Thus, are we all not in violation of the Fourth Commandment? Will we all be summed to the jurisdiction of the Divine Supreme Court of the Fourth Commandment? If God is Spirit then any material representation is a “no-no”.
Divine Hedonist or Divine Expressionist
And yet, I do it. I bet you do too. Even atheists do it when they attach a certain meaning toward any object – even if that object is themselves or their intellect. We use the objects and traditions as a vehicle or a tool for worship, focus, grounding, centeredness.
I know this is taking it to the extreme. I am a purist though. I like to swing with the pendulum to both sides. It is in these extremes that I then can find my “just right” middle of the way.
By turing to all these different God “forms”, am I on course or am I off course? Am I being a Divine hedonist by indulging in all these Divine Expressions? Why don’t I just pray to God? Period. Or, are all these Divine forms nuances of that which is non-explainable, non-shapeable, but rather EXPERIENTIAL. In our life path and journey we encounter variety in everything. In life we need to be both fixed and malleable. Just like in relationships, cooking, painting a wall, or fixing a lawnmower, we need a variety of tools with which to approach the situation and get the job done, with Love.
Perhaps the fourth commandment may be all right with us having Divine “props” for our human nature. Perhaps the fourth commandment is telling us to not let anything that is earthly come in-between our relationship with God, be it work, relationships, hobbies, goals, ideals, religion, spirituality, tradition, and even objects.
Perhaps, at this stage of my journey, I am playing with the notion that Christianity may not be a monotheistic religion. Or maybe I am just not at the stage of my development, where my practice of Divine Worship is monotheistic. The road ahead will tell.
And on that note, let us remember what God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make wo/man in our image, after our likeness”.
Abundant Wisdom for All, Irena As I Am 03/12/2018
*Rejoice/Hail NOTE: The term “hail” was a greeting used by Roman soldiers. The more accurate translation of the Angle Gabriel’s greeting to Mary is “REJOICE”.