Presence and Awareness
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5–6
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. Psalms 119:15
Nobody wants to be ordinary. Everybody wants to be extraordinary. Yet in God’s economy, it is as we claim the status of ordinary that he is able to lead us into a way of life that is extraordinary. Ordinary people living the extraordinary way of Jesus. If you think about it for a minute it really makes sense. If we start with the position of extraordinary, we seem full; God has nowhere to pour himself in. If we start with ordinary, we are — in a sense — empty, ready to be filled with God. I suspect that is what the apostle John meant when he said, He must increase, but I must decrease.”(John 3:30).The goal is not the decreasing, the goal is the increasing. We need more of Jesus.
This past Sunday at Creekside, we talked about two keys to this increasing of Jesus in us:
1. Being with him; and, 2. Examining where we are with him.
Another way to put it is 1. to learn to both experience his presence throughout our day and 2. to be reflective about how well we see and hear him.
As a tool for the first, I mentioned Frank Laubach’s Game With Minutes, a tool that helps us to recognize God in our midst throughout the day. Laubach posited that if everyone were to simply be aware of God’s presence each moment of the day, it would do more than all of the political and diplomatic efforts ever could. I agree, and go further to say that it would lead us much more fully into living in Jesus’ extraordinary way. His essay (written in the 1950’s) describing how to do this can be read here.
As a tool for the second, I led us as a congregation through a Prayer of Examen. Developed in the 1500’s by Ignatius of Loyola it is still very helpful for us today. It is simply a process of intentionality thinking and praying through the day so that we can be grateful for the gifts of each day, aware of God’s presence when we received it and followed his leading and when we missed it. It is a daily practice that keeps us on course with God and allows us to “give” each day to him. I find the online version to be very helpful. In this version, you actually are prompted step by step. If that is not for you, here is an Examen you can print out.
I’m glad to be on this journey with you.
Peace, hope and love Doug