The “Carry On” God

baggage-suitcase_244x242It’s the smaller bag that you saves you from $15. to 20.00 dollars when you carry it with you on the plane.  It’s the smaller bag that contains only a part of your stuff.  The rest of your stuff is stuffed somewhere else; you’re not sure where but trust that it’s somewhere close by.

How much of our small lives is God a “carry on,” a sizable bite of the bigger elusive apple. I guess when a deity is so large that naturally we small people would make God the same size.  It’s convenient but not very religious.  Our “Carry On God” (COG) seems to be at our beckon call even when this deity doesn’t respond with  our”yes.”  We have the same dimensions of this COG, it seems to vary from airline to airline but generally it’s in the vicinity of 21 by 14.  It’s amazing to watch folks board and how they stretch that mandatory size to include things that they hold in the other hand like smaller bags, flowers or boxes.  (You wonder what’s left in their homes when they board airplanes!)  If we could stretch our deity beyond ourselves the price definitely is no longer around $17.00.  The price grows higher because the size increases.

In our place of prayer, wherever that may be, can the COG enlarge beyond a limiting size?  There are petitions and there are prayers.  Petitions deal with family members’ needs, that the neighbor moves out and that the promised raise becomes true.  Beyond the COG are petitions for peace, harmony, end of violence and a growing litany that breaks the COG boundary.  Prayers center around this great gift of life while knowing something bigger in size awaits us.  Prayers are the gratitudes, thankfulnesses, or simply being in quiet with this bigger than COG we’ve carried on the plane.

“Made in the image and likeness of God,” is how scripture describes ourselves.  Two important words that point to the fact that we are not God.  Both words come close but not quite.  Infinite doesn’t describe our limited home whatever its size so we’ve naturally reduced God to a size we can handle.  There’s the old joke where God wants to “call home” a man who happens to be on an airplane along with 278 other people.  Does God do what God wanted at the time or wait for the “between flights” time in the men’s room?  Bad joke but message sent.

If you’ve followed my little COG story you would notice that the center of attention has been us.  Petition and prayer reverses itself with God as now the center (God’s got the bigger bag) and us as responders and listeners.  The beauty of any religion or belief is the making bigger of someone or something else and then placing ourselves in perspective.

We’ve tucked away our carry on bag above us while all the time there’s our bigger bag full of stuff that is stuffed somewhere else; we’re not sure where but trust that it’s somewhere close by.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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