By Nimmi Candappa
As we continue to hear updates on the health of the British Monarch, we are reminded of the eras gone by where Monarch rule over “kingdoms” was the dominant form of governance. We celebrated the Catholic Feast of Christ the King last weekend. How do we relate to God as King? Some books of the Old Testament speak of the behaviour demanded of people in front of a King. The King had complete and absolute authority over his people. One would require a humbled approach to enter into his presence, seeking permission, and being well aware that one word wrong could well spell the end of one’s life.
Is this our God? Or could this be the behaviour a worldly King would expect? Contrary to our general acceptance of democratic rule as ideal, a “benevolent dictator or King” is regarded by others as being the most effective form of governance. Someone with complete authority but whose only desire is seeking the best outcomes for each of us.
What would seeing God as benevolent King mean to our relationship with God?
Apart from King, there are many other ways of seeing God – creator, saviour, father, friend, shepherd. As we journey in faith, we may find that at different times we can relate more to one aspect of God compared to another. When we are beside breath-taking scenery, we may be in awe of God as creator, and conscious the same God that created the beauty around us, also created us. When we look back on decisions made and see the hand of God in these, we might relate to God as shepherd, leading us “through green pastures”. As we grow in our relationship with God, as with any true relationship, we look to make it personal and individual, relevant to us. In many circumstances, St Eugene looked to God as his friend, with whom he could be himself, express frustration, and seek consolation. St Eugene invested time in this friendship, ensuring time in front of the Blessed Eucharist so he could grow in understanding of God, and become more like his creator. As long-term couples can verify, we grow in similarity to those with whom we spend a lot of time, absorbing some of their habits, opinions and outlooks. Spending time with God will allow us naturally to grow in likeliness to God.
In this next fortnight, we might look at which aspect of God we can readily relate to in our current circumstances. Right now, do you feel God has your back, as a friend would; or have you felt protected and shielded through the lockdown period, safely shepherded through the trials of a pandemic. Or maybe you are not sure exactly how your relationship with God is, or even if it is in a good place. In a quiet moment with God, you might ask a quick “are we all good God?” and listen out for the response.