The hound of heaven

I have been long familiar with the poetic metaphor of God as the "hound of heaven" (see Francis Thompson's poem). Thompson's view of God is as the untiring pursuit dog, never losing the scent. It's a poem which has inspired esteemed Christian writers of the 20th century including Chesterton and Stott. Our first dog had that kind of approach to life; our current dog, Korra, not so much.

Here she is on the left. When I meditate in a public space, she prefers I not forget her. She will push her nose under my hand, lay her face on my leg, and even jump on me. All she wants is to love and be loved. She really likes hanging out with us. She really likes when we pet her, scratch her chest, rub her belly; anything that involves us touching her. If I stop, she will put her paw on me, indicating I need to continue petting.

When she did that to me this morning, I thought of Thompson's metaphor, the hound of heaven. My understanding of God is changing. I can now recognize God as a persistent puppy, not seeking a prize, but love, affection and intimacy. Even if the reality is more like hunter and prey, powerful and weak, the incarnation of Jesus, who let's himself be killed by his enemies reveals a deeper dynamic. God took on the form of a servant, a dedicated, never discouraged, persistent, affectionate companion. God is like my dog, Korra.


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