“What does God look like?”
Then remembering that we are made in the image of God, we may hear God say to us, “I look like you.”
My typical day is filled with ordinary tasks. As a liturgist/musician I write General Intercessions, select songs, practice music, post hymn numbers. As a member of a team caring for Lial Renewal Center, I perform many mundane activities: weeding, sweeping, dusting, washing windows and dishes. In some way these tasks coincide with the creative work of God. At least that’s what Teilhard de Chardin claims. The completion of creation is in your hands and mine. What a great incentive to do all things—even the most humble—well.
Appreciating creation and then thanking the Creator is a beautiful way to know and love God. A waterfall reminds us of the God of Life. A newborn reveals the God of Tender Love. Flowers, insects, and animals are an endless source of amazement in the God of Infinite Creativity. When appreciating nature leads to thanking God, the direction goes from creation to Creator. But there is another direction; that is, from Creator to creation. In God I appreciate the waterfall. With God I love the baby. The God of Infinite Creativity shows me a new way to look at flowers and animals. More and more people are looking at the Universe Story, the story that goes in both directions. We look at the expanding universe and are amazed at God’s brilliance. We look at the Firstborn of all Creatures and begin to understand how each flower, insect, or person “continues in being” (Colossians 1:17).
O God, you are the beginning of all. The universe resides in you. Bring me closer to You so that I can come closer to your creation.
Regardless of the manner used in prayer, prayer gradually makes our lives more a prayer. At some point prayerful living and living prayer fuse. A person facing long weeks of bone marrow transplants or chemotherapy prays, and their struggle for life is their prayer. Such a patient reaches for the hand of God. Whether God leads to a place she does not want to go or to the place of the patient’s delight, one’s following God’s lead in faith is the life of prayer.
We speak of a “day of reckoning” when our deserved rewards and punishments will be meted out, sometimes in the context of death. The reward will be due in part to our response on “the day of beckoning,” when we were asked to follow Christ. The day of beckoning began at the first instance of our existence, became stronger at baptism, and has continued through every daily response to the call “Follow Me.” Every day is a “day of beckoning.”
How will you use this day of beckoning so that the day of reckoning will be one of joy?
Recently I took a two-mile wagon ride through Rolling Ridge Ranch in the Amish country in eastern Ohio. Beefalo, zebu cattle, yak, Brahma cattle, Nigai, antelope, emus, ostriches, llamas, alpacas, and many other animals gathered at the wagon whenever it stopped. They knew they would be fed from our buckets. Feeding animals with wide antlers and long horns can be a bit daunting, to say nothing of the animals’ strength as they worked to take the whole bucket of feed—and often did. The wagon driver was an excellent guide, who could match babies and parents, knew when the animals had been born or had arrived at the ranch, and warned us of their feeding idiosyncrasies. “Raise your bucket higher. Make him stick out his tongue.” I admire the guide’s oneness with the animals. Isn’t such oneness what is meant to be in God’s plan?
Take some time today to notice animals and birds, and give them your care.
Pentecost is coming (June 8), so it’s time to pray “Come, Holy Spirit” often—perhaps while mowing the grass or walking the dog. Will the Holy Spirit really come? Of course it will! The Spirit may even strengthen our personal spiritual journey.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all considered Pentecost this year as a time to commit ourselves to being a disciple, a true friend of Jesus?
In a church where the custom is to ring bells at the consecration, a small child quite loudly said “Ding-dong!” imitating the bells. “Ding-dong”: the sound of a doorbell indicating someone wants admittance. Today listen for the “ding-dongs” of those persons who seek some admittance into our lives, and remember that everyone and everything is connected in the cosmos that can be described as the Great Interconnectedness. When your mind is free, reflect upon the “ding-dongs” of God. Will you let God become more involved in your life?
Where did the expression “Holy Mackerel” come from? Was it the surprise catch of 153 fish by the apostles a few days after the resurrection of Jesus? You’d think that these fisher-apostles would instinctively try to prevent torn nets and a capsized boat. Instead their attention was on the man on the shore. They said, “It is the Lord!” Once on land, the disciples enjoyed their breakfast of fish cooked by the Divine Chef who must have been a Divine Fisherman, too, to have caught a big one for the six hungry apostles at daybreak when the professional six hadn’t caught anything all night! Whether it was the best breakfast they ever tasted is not recorded in Scripture. What is recorded is the fact that Jesus took bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. “Took” and “gave” – key words in a Eucharistic meal. 153 fish were certainly miraculous, but the big miracle is the fact that the Risen Lord is ever present in the simple elements of bread and wine.
When have you experienced the presence of the Risen Lord in a very simple thing or event? What simple thing could you do today to let someone else experience God?