Trick or Treat?


Trick or treat.  Who is that?  Identity!  Halloween was all about identity. 

 

I went to bed 6 hours ago reading a bit from Elie Wiesal’s book.  Wiesal discusses God in the the story of Noah, finding God in the developing story asking Himself, “Who am I?”  We were here to provide the answer.  People were.  If God was love, it was the lover who helped identify and provide the answer.  The story of Noah showed God’s struggle to establish His own identity, just as His people struggled in the same way with their identity.  And it was heartening to know that my struggle was God’s struggle. 

 

The story of Noah:  God still fully engaged in the world, in those days before he bowed out to a seat in the audience to watch His creation.  Fully conscious in this story of the goings-on in His world.  The divorced man or woman could fully identify with this story of a love gone bad.  God set out only to save His relationship with Noah and, what is unstated, Noah’s wife.   

 

There was a younger Jesuit, under 35, at the Jesuit Retreat House this year.  He spoke only at the morning prayer service at 7:30 am on the final morning.  He made a comment that stuck in my throat.  “God does not need us.”  He must have gotten the line out of a book or from some theology instructor.  And I thought he was so wrong.  The struggle in identity, in God’s, in mine, is in the search for a lover, and once selected to continue developing with that other human, that need.  To suggest that God did not really need me or my love was a developmental  blindness of either youth or his celibacy.

 

I went to bed 6 hours ago reading a bit from Elie Wiesal’s book.  Elie was always asking questions, like a little kid in Hebrew School.  It struck me that this questioning is part of the beauty of Judaism.  This was the original whodunit.  The answer in the whodunit was of course, God.  The joy was reading the mystery.  People kept buying the Agatha Christie novels, the Nancy Drew Mysteries, the Hardy Boys.  Year after year.  It was all in the questioning, the search for answers.  Men and women never could have enough of these mystery novels, in their own search, as a guide.  Just as from age to age, from east to west, men and women went in search of a lover. 

Ultimately, Halloween was all about the identity of someone else.  The someone else we aspired to be.  It originally seemed based on the notion of a saint, or the spirit of a saint.   Life’s lesson, the answer to the question (Trick or treat?), was one of identity, and  ultimately the mystery was about finding out who I was meant to be.   And God did need me, in all of this.  Otherwise the world was going to be a worse mess.

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