I have been particularly struck by this quotation (really the whole chapter) from Elizabeth Johnson:
“Seen in the light of this continuous divine presence, the natural world, instead of being divorced from what is sacred, takes on a sacramental character. Sacramental theology has always taught that simple things – water, oil, bread and wine – can be bearers of divine grace. This is so, it now becomes clear, only because to begin with the whole physical world itself is the matrix of God’s gracious indwelling. ”
Her words have helped me reflect on how simple things can point us toward God. As a Lenten practice (and it is a practice because it is something I have to work at!), I’m seeking God in the small things. I’m starting with things I enjoy.
I am a person who likes to be in motion. When my whole body is occupied, my mind is better able to settle in the Spirit of God all around us. For me, I find this groove most often when I’m running along the creek in our neighborhood, when I’m preparing a meal to share, and when I’m fully engaged in play with a little one. In these times, it is in my surroundings of the forest against the backdrop of urban sirens, the smell of the a new meal against the shout of my 2 year old “eat! eat! eat!”, and the space for simple play of horsie or trains, that I am able to settle into the practice of digging after God. It is in these moments I see that God’s divine grace is being continually revealed in creation. It is my practice to look for these places that bear God’s grace, and in these places find the challenge and the charge to be a bearer of God’s grace too.
The challenge and charge I hear is to continue that practice to seek after God in things I don’t necessarily enjoy (like long lines), and see what I’m to learn (perhaps, things like patience.)
Even more challenging, I hear the charge to seek God in things that made me sad and angry (like poverty, disparities, war, isms), and see where God is beckoning me into God’s presence there too. It is my strong belief that God is with us in all things – at times cheering us on – and at times carrying us through our pain – and at times goading us to hear the call to see God in everything – especially in the places where we would not readily want to look.
Quotation from Elizabeth Johnson in the Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God (Chapter 9, “Creator Spirit in the Evolving World,” Location 3349 of 4430 in Kindle Edition.)