In God annihilated, I shall arrive again,Where from eternity I have forever been.                       
-- Angelus Silesius   

Where does one go to find God?  In the Bible, the patriarchs and prophets would climb mountains or venture out into the wilderness.  Sometimes they would keep souvenirs from their encounters with the divine.  The stone tablets of the covenant were brought down from the mountaintop and put in a box that went with the Hebrew people as they wandered from place to place.  The ark of the covenant, as it was called, was carried into battle as a kind of talisman and was later housed in the temple Solomon built at Jerusalem.  The Holy of Holies, where the ark of the covenant was kept, was closed off by a thick curtain, and only the high priest was permitted to enter once each year.

Even Solomon himself was oddly ambivalent about his magnificent temple.  "But will God indeed dwell on the earth?" he said at its dedication.  "Behold, heaven and earth and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!"  The Apostle Paul said much the same thing when he journeyed to Athens and saw temples erected to every imaginable deity and even one to an unknown deity, just to make sure no one was left out.  "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man," he told the Athenians.  In St. John's vision of New Jerusalem found in the closing chapters of the New Testament, there is no temple at all.

Paul explained to the Athenians that God cannot be contained in any shrine because everything is contained in God.  He quoted a line from Aratus, one of their own poets: "In him we live and move and have our being."  For Paul, our proper relationship to God is to be in him.  “For you have died,” he wrote his fellow Christians, “and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  When we find our true place in God, we are rooted in something infinitely vaster than the paltry self we imagine ourselves to be.  We are like a small wave that suddenly discovers itself to be part of the fathomless deep. We are no different in essence from what we always were, but now we are suddenly unbounded.  And whether our fate is to crash against the rocks or to lap gently against the shore, not a single drop of our precious being is ever lost.

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