Faith could be defined as a search for meaning derived from the soul. The type of meaning that fills the sense of lack we experience when operating out of our ego. Our ego attempts to inflate our self confidence so we become immune to the harsh reality of pain. This immunity, however, only exist at the surface level. Before long, it becomes evident that our over developed sense of confidence is simply a facade that disguises the fact that there is something absent in our deepest being. And so we seek to fill that void or that lack because we believe that is what is necessary to make us feel complete.
Faith, then, can be one of the avenues which we choose to address this absence. God is the object that we focus on to accomplish this. Peter Rollins has talked a lot about this lack in many books, articles and videos. As he explains, this lack is actually the place where we experience God rather than something that is resolved by God. When we find ourselves amidst this experience, we give ourselves to the search for God. But rather than finding something sacred within the emptiness, we try to find some holy eminent being to fill the emptiness. The problem here is that we regurgitate the same information about God over and over. Essentially we seek a God for which there is no absence of. We search for new revelation without giving up our old position. What we need is to find a new understanding, a new way of knowing and feeling. But this is not possible without creating an absence to make room for revelation.
Seek and ye shall find only works when you lack that which you seek. To find God, first you must lose him. For it is in the loss of God that creates the desire to find him. When we have expectations and preconceived ideas of who or what God is then we are blind to the faded hues of enlightenment. So then this empty space, this absence of God is actually a sacred place. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote “before God and with God we live without God. He discovered that this meant to live with God was to live without God. It was to live in the absence of God all the while with God. The Sacred Absence is the place where we discover that what we have known God to be, he is not. It is this knowledge that invites us to embrace a new way of experiencing life. One in which, instead of attempting to fill the lack with some form of God, we learn to embrace the lack because that is where we find true meaning. That is where we meet humanity outside of our ego and experience our unity with all things. One thing that we all have in common is this deep rooted feeling of something missing. We feel we’re almost there if we could just achieve this or accomplish that. And while completing those goals give satisfaction for a while, they never fulfill the deepest longing for something more.
What if it is this longing, this emptiness that enables us to experience God or experience love or relationship. Is not the feeling that you never completely know or have all of your lover that allows you to continue to experience their love. It is the absence of completeness that creates the environment for us to feel a portion of it.
Indeed it is in the Sacred Absence that we find our true selves and can see each other beyond the masks of the ego. It is the only place where real community can manifest.