To say that God is real is not profound… because if he isn’t real, what are we doing as a church?
To say that God is so real he most fully meets us right where we really are is to acknowledge that God doesn’t fully meet us in our illusions, fantasies, abstractions, regrets, or wishful thinking. God isn’t a mind trip; he’s closer to us than we are to ourselves, as St. Augustine famously quipped.
So how do we avail ourselves to this God who is really here? Here are a few practices:
The foundational discipline of developing presence to the Divine Presence, silence is simultaneously terrifying and blessed. Blaise Pascal once observed, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Silence decreases our evasion and avoidance of the God who is present with us, avails us to what is actually going on in our lives at any given moment, and turns reality into holy ground.
Praying the Psalms
It was a seminal moment for me when I realized I didn’t actually have to want God to smash my enemies in order to pray psalms that asked God to do it. The Psalmist weren’t Christians, so we shouldn’t be surprised if their ethic is sub-Christian, right?
Instead, we pray the Psalms to articulate and give voice to those realities that live in our being that perhaps we are out of touch with or don’t give ourselves permission to name: sadness, anger, doubt, despair, joy, thankfulness, wrath.
Praying the Psalms teaches us to take all of our reality, not just the pretty, sanctimonious bits, into God’s presence with faith.
We’ve been using this phrase to refer to how we perceive God being present and work in our lives. Are you able to notice and name Kairos moments? Here’s a few metaphors we use to help people identify them:
- Brick Wall. This is when life stops working the way it used to. It can be positive or negative. For example: a divorce, the birth of a child, getting married, a big move across the country, the loss of a job, the acknowledgement of an addiction, etc.
- Speed Bump. This is a habit or pattern that you recognize in your life or relationships. It can also be positive or negative. For example: I get mad at my dog for minor things, I connect best with my daughter when I write her notes, I take things personally when others don’t, when I serve my spouse by doing work for them they experience love, etc.
- Mirror. This is when I see myself for who I really am. Again, it can be positive or negative. For example: I am just like my dad, I used to lose my temper in these situations but now I don’t, I like to stay in much more than I used to, I am an anxious person, I am a joyful person, etc.
- Vision. This is when I get a glimpse of where God (or my sin/brokenness) is taking me. You guessed it: it can be positive or negative. For example: If I continue to yell at my kids they will be scared of me and seek to obey me to make me happy, God is making me patient in these specific ways, when you tell that story about redemption/healing something stirs deep in me, etc.
God is so real he will most fully meet you where you really are.
Do you know where you are right now as you read this? Let us practice silence, pray the Psalms, and tend to our Kairos moments as we seek to cultivate the decided intention to embrace reality as our meeting place with God.