Last Sunday, I asked the children and the congregation to share where they see God in our everyday lives. This was in preparation of my plans to share with our children a story each Sunday in February from a beloved book titled, “God Got a Dog”, by Cynthia Rylant. The book is made up of small vignettes where God appears as the most unlikely people of all ages, occupations, ethnic groups, etc. The homeless I served used to remind me constantly of how God could show up in the most interesting people, and the most interesting ways.
Of course, I also realized that this revelation does not happen like when the heavens opened up at Jesus’ baptism and a voice and a dove announced gods and the Holy Spirit connecting up with the Son. What I did realize is like anything you want to be a part of your normal behavior, you must think about it and practice it. To acknowledge God’s presence in different forms, you must first believe it can happen. I think this may be the hardest part at times. We must ask and challenge ourselves with the question, “do we believe this is possible?’ and if we answer honestly, “no” then we must spend time pondering “why not?” I guess that tips my hand. I do believe.
I must confess that I may not have started out with the premise 20 years ago when I first recognized my calling to serve the homeless and the least of us. I believe I was blessed to have been given a strong enough calling so that I kept coming back to a population that was considered less worthy by most, and therefore likely by many. With my constant exposure to this population however, I was not allowed to avoid the realization that God can appear in each of us, and all of us. From that point on, another human phenomenon kicked in. A few years back I bought a blue truck. Within a day, it seemed as if there were hundred of blue trucks in Napa. These blue trucks were not suddenly purchased in the same week that I purchased mine. This occurred because I had become aware of their existence.
Should we not practice acknowledging God’s presence? Practice will not make perfect. We as humans have so many prejudices, hidden privileges, and socially developed behaviors to overcome. However, any behaviors we practice about God being present in others, or just practicing kindness and the Grace of God can make miraculous differences in our world.
Ash Wednesday is February 26. How would it be to take on this behavior as part of your Lenten practice? Think about it..pray about it.
Your Pastor, Linda
PS - Speaking of Lent, I will be off on Study Leave from 2/10-2/16 in order to get us ready. Blessings all!