And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
~ Exodus 33:14
Some mornings I think about the times that Christ "went off," to be alone to pray. While each morning I start the day by sitting, writing and reflecting, often it begins with me walking out into our back yard to see what new blooms are about to open among our flowers, or to view where flowers once were. Funny how the garden becomes the place where the world outside seems to fade away, and I can meet myself in my own thoughts while listening for the Spirit.
It must have been wonderful to actually walk with God as the first humans did in the garden. While I'm not sure it was a literal being, it was such a deep relationship that the existence of God was known and felt.
The world in which we live today and about whose suffering we know so much about, seems to be more of a world in which God seems to have withdrawn from.
I know for myself, my garden moments help me to prepare for these spiritual moments, but it does make me wonder about others and the world we all live in. But still, I believe that we must continue to find ways to bring about the message of hope, even when we seem to struggle to see God among humanity.
God has not suddenly become absent. Jesus has not ascended and failed to look back, and the Holy Spirit is not locked in an upper room. Both God and Jesus, along with the Holy Spirit, are present, inviting each of us into relationship. It just seems that they are harder to recognize for some reason in the world today. Let's face it, human suffering and the human condition, meets us in every news feed, headline, and updated text.
It is in the midst of our chaotic environment where God emerges, meeting us where we are presently. While I love my times in the garden, while communing with and thinking of God, I also realize that there is someone finding God in a hospital hallway, the long line at the department store, and in the stare of a child, looking out from where he has been separated and caged away from his parents.
In the place where you are now, do you recognize God's presence?
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.