Photo by carlos hevia

It’s not easy fitting an ancient, mystical, Near Eastern concept of the divine into our modern, individualistic, Western heads (like we’ve been attempting to do this last millennium or so with Christianity).

The easiest thing for us rational Westerners to deal with is an object. A noun. A thing that we can point to, examine, genderize, and define.

This God-as-noun is one way to look at it, indeed, but it’s severely limited (hence, we have the Trinity), especially during periods of suffering. When things are good, I can say that this God-as-noun loves me and blesses me. But if I were to have a terminal illness at a young age with kids and a loving spouse and all the rest of it, I can think that this object that is God is against me.

This is when the notion of God-as-verb helps.

[Please, know that this is not black and white. God-as-verb is no better or worse than God-as-noun, God-as-adjective, God-as-past-participle, or however else you’d like to frame the numinous; I’m just trying to help here:)]

God-as-verb relieves God from being some kind of grand protector in the sky who sometimes swoops down and intervenes and sometimes doesn’t.

When God is a verb, God becomes more of a moving current. A divine flow of love, renewal, and release.

It doesn’t exist as its own thing, an object that sits separate from us humans (a useful concept in its own right), but rather as an undergirding of love and release.

God becomes a gas rather than a solid. A divine mist or steam that doesn’t serve as a wall of protection, but rather as an effervescent unconditional love that sustains us.

It’s not personal in nature, but it does have a personalness to it.

This is a part of the perichoresis— the circle dance — of the holy relationship of the Trinity.

This is the mystery of our faith.