Where do you experience God?
For the longest time I would have answered that question the “right” way — in worship, in prayer, at church, serving others, doing what is right, and every once in a while in nature. I guess I had this idea that I had to be doing “God-stuff” in order to experience God. I’m sure that is somehow tied back into some Greek dualism idea, but I that gets too complicated really fast for me and makes my head hurt (like it did when I watched that Cloverfield movie). Personally, I think that most of us have been taught (by those that said they knew) that God is experienced in moments that are somehow special…holy in some way. And that holiness comes from a specific focus on doing God-stuff in God-ways so that we can feel better about ourselves.
Think about it.
We leave a “worship service” commenting on whether or not we felt “moved” or whether we were “in the Spirit.” We go on “mission trips” and come back saying how much we were “changed” because of the experience. We tend to schedule in God-feeling stuff so that we can somehow “charge our batteries” for our experience in the rest of life.
I sometimes wonder if God looks at us during those “God-times” and says to himself, “I wish they would cut through all of that BS and really get to know me.” (That sounds horrible but I think that out of all of the Beings in this existence that God should be allowed to call BS…BS!)
I’m reading a book right now that asked a question that has been rattling around in my spirit today. When you talk to God, where does the communication take place? Where do you focus? Where does the voice come from? Instinctually almost, I think that a majority of people (regardless of religious stripe) would say “up” and look to the sky. There is something other about God that makes him above our experience. But when I see God portrayed, particularly in the pages of the New Testament, he is sitting across the table from a friend or he is some kind of force that flows naturally from one person to another.
GOD IS LOVE.
So when I experience that which is good or that which would radiate love then I’m actually experiencing God. A hug from my kids. A kiss on the cheek and a pat on the rear end from my wife. A good meal with old friends and new ones. A student playing the piano during chapel showcasing a talent that I never knew she had. Any experience of the goodness in THIS life is an experience of God. A reflection of being made in His image.
When I see my day that way…when I seem my life that way, I begin to understand the idea of “prayer without ceasing” that I used to feel really guilty about. I experience all of life as grace even though it doesn’t always cross my mind that way (like this morning when that lady cut me off on the way to school). It is then that I understand what Paul was talking about when he said, “in him we live, and move, and have being.”
So I don’t go to church any more…it comes to me — all of the time.