Monday, July 18, 2011
“Practicing the Presence of God!”
I apologize for not writing in a while. I offer no excuses except to say I am sorry. It hasn’t been that I haven’t wanted to write. It just hasn’t been a priority for me lately and that is difficult for me to admit because writing is therapeutic for me. So to admit that I haven’t been doing it is like going to confession to confess those pesky sins that keep tripping you up. Not writing means I haven’t been doing a very good job of taking care of myself. Writing is one of the best spiritual disciplines for me in my practice of the presence of God. So to admit that I haven’t been writing is to realize and own that my practice of God’s presence hasn’t been the best lately. Oh, you know how it goes. You get too busy. What is so interesting to me is how when we get so busy we begin to lose control of those parts of our lives that are the best parts of our lives. We get sloppy in expressing our love to those we love most is a constant example. We begin to just take it for granted because we know we can. After all they love us, don’t they? It really makes very little sense when you step back and analyze our thinking on stuff like this. Let’s see, we sacrifice the most significant parts of our life and relationships for items that are demanding and we pay attention to them because………………. You begin to see what I mean. Well, I am just coming off one of those periods in my life and ministry. In a nutshell I have sacrificed what is best and most life giving in my life for stuff, for agendas of somebody else’s choosing. Reflecting upon it I realize I have fallen prey to making an idol of things and people that will never bring me fulfillment nor a sense of purpose. I have sacrificed the best for what is good or sometimes for what is trivial. God help me and God forgive me for such choices.
In the wilderness temptations Jesus was tempted with such things. The tempting thing about what was being offered him was how flashy and how exciting it all appeared. The key word here is appeared. There is a great deal of difference between appearance and substance. Jesus, thank God, knew the difference and would not yield God and his sense of God for any appearance. I must confess that lately I haven’t been so disciplined. That stops today! I have been led, by the grace of God, back to what counts. I don’t really have time to disclose what has led me back to this awareness. Suffice it to say it was a series of people and experiences. Once I realized the difference I just shook my head as I realized how easy it had been to get so lost, so very quick. When we lose ourselves and our sense of God to appearances we have given up the very soul of our living. What distinguishes Jesus from us is that time after time he refused the easy, deceiving, appearances for the only reality there is, God with us. I wonder sometimes if we ever understand the depth of what we profess to affirm each Sunday with the powerful words of the affirmation of faith, “we are not alone, God is with us. Thanks be to God!” Such a statement, such a living reality is always the difference between loving and apathy, compassion and indifference, fear and hope, selflessness and selfishness, and the sacred and the secular. It is one of the many reasons we recite it every Sunday so that we will always be reminded of the difference!!!
Well, once again God, in only the way God can, God found me in my wandering. So…….back to practicing the presence of the one who loves me and you like no other can! So here I am writing again because when I do I sense God so very near to me. It just feels soulful to try to express such love and its presence and the work it is doing with us, through us, in us, among us. Even as I try to express such reality I find myself in awe once again of this marvelous mystery of the transforming presence of this God I love! It feels right and good to be writing again. It reminds me of what I and you must never forget. God is with us!!! May that truth define all of who we are today and everyday!!!
I will see you on the road,