Over the past several weeks I have been leading a series on Spiritual Practices and last week was on the relational aspect. These practices enhance our relationships with others, which in turn reminds us that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. And along the way, we encounter the Divine.
We have been sharing stories about encountering God in our lives. Each one inspiring. This practice reminds me of some of the sweetest memories of encountering the Divine. Years ago, I met a young lady (age 10) who never ceased to inspire me. I will call her PC.
One of my favorite images of PC is when we were doing contemplative music and prayer for our Sunday school closing. Soft music playing, candles lit, kids lying around all over the room and I look up and see PC, eyes closed, doing hand motions to the words in the song. It was beautiful.
Another time the elementary Sunday school was telling the story of Easter by taking on characters and acting it out. The kids were assigned to be someone in the story; they dressed up and we took photos. As we talked about what was happening in the story, they would try to imagine what each character might be thinking or feeling. One of PC’s roles was to play Judas. At one point she came up to me and was concerned that she would have to betray Jesus. I told her that Jesus loved Judas every bit as much as he loved the others and that we know Judas by name because he was an important part of the story. She felt a little better about it. When it came time to take the pictures, we gave the cue for the ‘actors’ to respond to Jesus’ announcement that one of them would betray him – PC had tears in her eyes; powerful stuff. (see photo)
I know the spiritual journey is not an easy road. It is full of questions and wonder. I believe we need companions for the journey and that everyone’s journey moves in different directions, with different landscapes. I also believe that we encounter God every day - although we may not always recognize it. God dwells in us, in our relationships, and in the world.
Awhile back, I decided to spend the afternoon being very attentive to where and how I might encounter God. I wrote down my experience:
Today I saw huge drops of water on lush leaves. They literally looked like diamonds!
Today, I saw a family riding bikes along the water. One of them fell behind and the others waited for them to catch up so they could continue together.
Today, I saw an elderly couple sitting on a bench sharing a dish of ice cream.
Today, I felt a gentle breeze on my face.
Today, my heart ached at the sound of someone crying.
Where will you encounter the Divine today? And who will you share that story with?