Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?
~ John 7:26
Each day when I meet new people, I generally ask them to tell me about their faith journey. We all have one. Even the atheist has a faith journey.
What surprises me the most, is that often the climatic moment when the person acknowledges the presence of God in their life, it doesn't involve a pew surrounded by four walls, within the context of a church bulletin, or while telling someone, "I am fine," as they shake hands and promote the peace of Christ with one another.
Often I hear of stories in hospitals, in the darkness of night, when there has been pain, when brokenness has been encountered, or when something that was once thought to be impossible, happens.
While attending seminary, one of my professors described his first church experience as a pastor, surrounded by a group of "planners," who orchestrated some pretty amazing worship services. As they planned the service that included dramatic readings, a choral arrangement, and even how the chancel candles would be lit one morning, he sat back and asked, "And when do we invite God to be part of things?"
Allowing for God is something which often gets overlooked among meetings and plans. I can remember my grandfather sharing stories of sitting for hours in a Quaker meeting house as a child waiting on the Spirit of God to move someone to speak. He tells of the day that he became so restless that he thought of asking his mother for her hat pin to help "poke" the Spirit of God along.
Often it is at the end of life, or when something happens in our life to cause us to pause, that we suddenly realize that God has been pursuing after us in our marathon of life.
I find that it is necessary that we remember that in the 23rd Psalm, David writes that, "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." It is up to us to stop and allow God to catch up.
Discovering God in each moment is what Jesus tried to teach us. Within the parables on a hillside, among the sick and poor, and at a well where a lone woman sat. In times when Jesus went off to pray, and in the invitation for a man to step out of a boat and to walk on water. Among animals in a barn where baby lay, and from the cross on a hill. God is seeking after us.
We seem to have lost our bearing when we focus on ways to entertain God, rather than invite God. Our worship of God begins with us. Each one of us, in relationship with the One who has created us. Ephesians 2:10 serves as the reminder that each of us are part of God's workmanship, created by God to do God's will.
When we recognize that we are invited to be the instruments by which God is known in the world today, then suddenly our lives have new meaning, and so do our actions. This is when we begin to understand better how God is known in our life and the lives of others.
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.