"In what activities do you notice the presence of God?" I am paraphrasing a question asked by our new pastor at a recent house meeting. I think he specifically referenced activities at church.
This meeting was not held in someone's home but in the pastor's office, as a convenience, with childcare so that those with younger children could attend. The pastor is ambitious, wanting every person in the church to participate in these house meetings.
Our younger son went along at our insistence, but he was equally insistent -- adamant -- that he shouldn't be there, and he acted the part of the sulky teenager throughout. (Don't tell him I said that. I tremble even writing it here.) So he proved himself right.
Austin was home sick, an illness that dragged on throughout last week until I finally took him in Friday and got him on antibiotics. Not surprisingly, Andrew woke up with a sore throat this morning. Austin thinks it's psychosomatic, though. If big brother is sick, I must be too. So I sent him out to mow and weedeat with his brother. That will test his theory that he's sick, I guess! (Austin toughed it out every day at school, with killer weightroom sessions, followed by long hours of band practice, some in the pouring rain, till he spiked a fever -- again -- Thursday night after feeling sick the previous weekend.)
I'm sipping on some tea that advertises, "calma la garganta irritada," right now. With me, it's hard to know if it's a real sore throat or just the usual reflux.
Anyhow, the pastor kept asking, kept asking. It almost feels like when you are in a classroom, and many people have given an answer, but the teacher keeps asking the same question and you realize you're all wrong. Though that wasn't it, really. The pastor did have a secret purpose, which I think I understand, and I bow to my reader to divine what that was.
You know me, I could have filled the empty space with reams of answers, but I didn't think that would be appropriate. I was listening to hear what would be said. In fact, not too much. I said, "VBS!" That's where I really see God working in the lives of others and especially in children, and that is very exciting.
But where do I notice God's presence? Where? The more interesting question might be, where do I/we as humanity not take notice of God's presence, because those are the areas and places that need more work.
God permeates all existence, he is continously streaming and flowing through every aspect of daily life, and once someone's eyes are opened to the brilliance of this work, it makes every day so amazing and miraculous. I say this as a Buddhist, not just as a Christian.* It's like the Bible verse: Pray continually. Be in a prayerful/meditative/mindful attitude at all times, because that is where you can gladly lose track of yourself, your petty worries and your tiny life with all its miniscule problems, and touch eternity.
The awakened life is precious, indeed! It requires a lot of work, and mindfulness, to be in that awakened state. It is an ongoing practice. There are numerous distractions, and the excitable mind (any mind, actually) will latch onto all of them. I say "excitable" because that describes my mind so well.
*Note: Sorry if it is beyond human understanding that I could be both Buddhist and Christian, because it truly blows my mind too. If I had more time to observe the world's religions, I would probably be an "everything." I embrace the many ways that people find to worship and pray. I find them deeply meaningful and important. If a religious practice includes compassion, devotion, and reverence, count me in.
I finally remembered how to download pictures from our "new" camera I got for Mother's Day, and downloaded the 438 pictures just now! (I had forgotten I had a cable tucked away and forgotten in a drawer.) I would say about half the pictures are of two churches in Washington, D.C., that my husband was extremely impressed by. Like this one from the National Cathedral, where a wedding was under way and we got to hear the organ:
And this one from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception:
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