“We don’t lack the presence of God. What we lack is the awareness of it.”
I love this statement by Rohr. It is true, through and through.
Theologically, we believe God is in us and around us, at all times–
and always “up to something” good.
But so much of what determines the vibrancy and vitality of our spiritual journey with God is our capacity to stay awake and aware of God’s “ever-present-up-to-somethingness.”
There are at least two ways to do just that.
The first is prayer. For me, “centering prayer” is the most fruitful way to remain aware of God’s presence and action (or, God’s “ever-present-up-to-somethingness.”)
Centering prayer is silent prayer. It is a spiritual discipline rooted in ancient contemplative practices. Ideally practiced two times each day (for twenty minutes each), centering prayer is simply an attempt to become fully present to the one who is fully present to us.
In the sixth century, Gregory the Great referred to contemplative practices like centering prayer as “resting in God.” To learn more about how to practice centering prayer, I recommend two sources to you. The first is this (old) video of Father Thomas Keating, explaining the practice. The second is this online brochure which describes the steps of Centering Prayer.
Check them out, and let me know you did!
The second way to remain aware of God’s “ever-present-up-to-somethingness” is to talk about it, to share it, celebrate it where and when you see it.
It is for this reason we have begun to do something new in worship. We have included a moment in the heart of worship each week entitled, “Celebrating Our Shared Life.” It is a moment for our congregation, as one unified body, to direct our attention to some God thing God has been up to in the life of our church. From week-to-week, it could be a ministry highlight, a mission moment, a personal story, or more.
In addition, these moments of focus are led by a rotation of pastors. Each of us will cycle in and out of each of our two worship venues, to lead the “Celebrating Our Shared Life” moment. It is one (of many) ways for us to remain aware and awake as a congregation to what God is doing in us and through us for the sake of His Kingdom.
To that end, we will be conducting a special questionnaire, or “Shared Life Survey,” in the coming weeks, designed to learn more about your own spiritual journey, and your personal experiences and engagement in the life of our church. Be on the lookout for the survey coming in the next week or so. When it does, I really want to hear from you.
Let’s celebrate God’s “ever-present-up-to-somethingness,” together!
Have I told you lately how much I love being your pastor?
Well, I do.
Dr. Shaun King
Johns Creek Baptist Church