Originally posted Jan. 9, 2012, at koinonia 21c. Republished with permission of the author.
To dwell in the presence of God is a sort of experience that both frightens and excites me.
As a person of faith, I can say that I have experienced God’s presence, felt the nearness of God, received God’s love and peace, encountered God’s judgment and mercy.
I have heard and seen some things that cause me to believe what I believe.
I’m not sure that I have been as faithful a practitioner to it. Mostly, God has made God known. Practicing the presence of God can also be described as communion with God or union with God.
For centuries, faithful people have sought God’s presence through meditation and prayer, dwelling in God’s word, being with other believers, worshiping God in liturgy, sitting in silence and/or serving others.
I suspect that most of us experience something like the absence or hidden-ness of God.
The reality of God is something that is questioned, doubted and rejected by many people. I cannot say that they are wrong. They have experienced life and have interpreted what they have experienced.
They have been taught and shaped by people and things outside of themselves. So have I.
Why I believe
So why do I believe in God and someone else does not? By choice? By misinformation?
When it comes to faith in God, are the categories “right” or “wrong” sufficient or proper? If they are, then who gets the blame? The messenger or the recipient? There are no non-believers. Everyone believes in something.
The Bible itself revels in revelation. God appears to some people and not to others. Some people see God. Others cannot.
Some men have visions. Others do not.
Some women see the Lord. Others don’t.
Even Jesus himself, crying out the words of the 22nd psalm, declares that God has forsaken him in crucifixion.
The Bible tells us that God’s presence is revealed, uncovered, encountered. Where, when and to whom is biblical mystery.
Sometimes we say we believe in God, but we have no evidence, by reason or faith, to say it. We say it because to not believe in God is worse than to say we believe it and yet to doubt.
I believe God hides from us. I believe we hide from God.
I believe God is near us and we can come closer to God.
I believe movement toward each other is what life is about. To practice the presence of God is something like looking in the mirror in a dark room and hoping that the light comes on while you’re looking in the right direction.
Find a link to Matthew Lenahan’s blog koinonia 21c at Lutheran Blogs.