Many years ago, I sat in a corporate office as a secular employee, and stared off into space as I contemplated the best way to restructure a particularly complicated shipping tariff. Someone walked by the door and, seeing me staring off, yelled out “get back to work!” I know this person was half joking, but I also realized that there is an element to truth in our western-culture mindset. If we are not doing something, then we must not be doing anything. Productivity is the honored result of our time. Accomplishing things, ticking off items on our to-do list. It’s the measurement of our success.
This characteristic of getting things done bleeds into our spiritual lives as well. We work hard to meet God. We structure our prayers and design our liturgies, we read spiritual books and have religious discussions, all so that we might find our way to God. So often, we think of the spiritual life as a journey from where we are to where God is, with only our own agency getting us from here to there.
But what if we switched that around? What if we imagined that, standing still, God might just come to us? In essence, we don’t need to do anything other than be open to the possibility for God to rise up to meet us. One of the reasons we hold silence in our services, most distinctly in Advent and Lent, is to allow us a moment to do absolutely nothing but be present. No words, to movement, no task to be done. Just silence so that God can speak, move, and impact.
It is hard to believe that 2013 is here; time moves quicker each year. And with the New Year are so often those to-do lists, the things to check off, and the tasks to accomplish. This year I will organize the closets, take better care of myself, be better about being on time… whatever it is for you, add it this one item: this year I will do nothing except allow God to meet me.
In the words of author, priest, and general spiritual guy, Brian C. Taylor:
“God is forever reaching towards us, trying to get our attention through nature, creativity, suffering, diverse people, difficult circumstances, surprising turns of events, and yes, sunsets and smiles of loved ones too. God is forever breaking through the veil of the ordinary, stirring things up for us.
This is the coming of God into the world, the Incarnation that is always new. This is…the initiative of a God who rises up to meet us where we are, and carry us forward in the great current of life.”
May each of us know the God that is there to meet us just as we are right now. May each of us have a year blessed with many God encounters.
Happy New Year.
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