Up, down and all around

During the pandemic, I have been participating in Zoom Around the World events. Since we can’t travel, we are sharing photos of trips we have made in the past.

Next week, I’ll be the presenter, talking about my Habitat for Humanity trip to Bolivia, so I’ve been preparing. The process of sifting through old photos reminded me of a conversation I had about El Cristo de la Concordia, the huge statue of Jesus built on a mountaintop overlooking the city of Cochabamba.

GUIDE: El Cristo de le Concordia is the second tallest statue of Christ in the world. It’s even bigger than the one in Rio de Janeiro, although that one is on a higher mountain. If it’s on a high mountain, it’s closer to God.

ME: That’s only if you believe that God is up there. (I point to the sky) I think that God is a-a-all around, and here (I place a hand on my heart), and in you (I point to his heart), and everywhere (I spread my arms wide).

GUIDE: (looking concerned and a greatly alarmed) No! No! He is up there. (He points to the sky.)

I immediately let the topic drop. The guide was not ready to let go of the “old man in the sky” version of God, and I wasn’t about to push it. He found comfort in believing that there is a great power watching over us. It was what was he needed.

I’m more comforted to feel that the Great Power is not separate and apart from me, and that it lies within us all. I find that to be a more tenable position in hard times, because then there’s no questioning or pointing fingers at a force outside of ourselves.

Also, up, down and all around includes everyone, no matter where they are on the crazy journey with spirit.

That’s an idea that can Zoom around the World.

“The kingdom of God is within you.” —Luke 17:21.

11 thoughts on “Up, down and all around

  1. marianbeaman

    What an honorable trip: Habitat for Humanity trip to Bolivia. Kudos to you, Arlene, for making the effort for that trip. You were probably smart to not argue with the guide about where the kingdom of God resides. Still, you didn’t need to relinquish your own position.

    I did not know that there was a statue of Christ larger than the one in Rio de Janeiro. Thanks for the enlightenment here. I too subscribe to the scripture that “The kingdom of God is within” us a truth from Luke.

    Reply
  2. Ally Bean

    I agree with you. I find more comfort believing that God is within me than looking above me to find my solace. You were wise to not irritate the guide. We all journey down our spiritual paths at at different pace. Maybe we’re actually on different paths, now that I think on it.

    Reply
  3. wiredogstories

    Hi Arlene, I have stood beneath the statue in Rio and it was pretty tall, so I am impressed if you say that the ones in Bolivia and Poland are even taller! I wont argue with you either about which one in closer to God because I am not sure where God is. But I think we should all try to get closer to him (or her), no matter where he is. And if you say he is in your heart then I am sure I want to get closer to him.

    Reply
    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      How wonderful to hear from you again. I have to say that the statue in Bolivia is taller – but not by much. Not enough that you would notice standing at its foot. And the way I see, you don’t have to try to get closer – the godness is in us all without any effort at all. Oh, look! There you are in my heart now!

      Reply
      1. wiredogstories

        Aahh thanks Arlene, that’s so nice. Thank goodness we can be in each others heart even far away, because, unfortunately, with the current restrictions on our civil rights we may never see each other ever again.

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