God's Life-Giving Presence

07-04-2021Weekly Reflection© LPi

It’s all so ordinary that we can easily miss it. The seagulls hunting and diving for mollusks at the beach offer a display of determination and precision as they gather their food for the day. It’s simply what these creatures do. Yet, there’s a magical artfulness and skill to their work that speaks volumes about the One who breathed life into their being. This is pretty much the way it is with God’s presence. God comes in common ways through common things and ordinary people. Sadly, we are so engulfed in our little worlds of order and ideas to notice the beauty and wonder of it all. Many have numbed themselves to the Divine spark at the essence of all life because that’s just the way it is. What’s so special about it? A sunset is a sunset and a seagull is a seagull. That’s precisely what they thought about Jesus too. After all, isn’t he just the carpenter’s son? What merit can his words possibly have?

If we’re looking for God to come in an event that is so dramatic and intense that it knocks our socks off, then think again. When pondering God’s relationship with His people and God’s action in our lives, we have to go back to the stable and the recurring, creative, unending power of God’s presence. It was a quiet, run of the mill kind of night. There was nothing spectacular or extraordinary. To the naked eye, a woman gave birth to a child and there wasn’t anything extraordinary to see. We have a hard time understanding God’s ordinary-ness. Jesus grew up in an ordinary town, had neighbors and did normal human things. Perhaps that’s why we don’t always like the Gospel. It doesn’t dazzle us with extraordinary things but simply challenges us to take a different look at our ordinary stuff. That makes us uncomfortable. We prefer things as they are. Our lack of faith can even cause us to take offense at what Jesus says and does, dismissing it as folly.

God’s life-giving presence continues to sustain that seagull in flight and keep all things in being regardless of whether we have the faith to see and understand this. Our personal agendas, preconceived ideas, misconceptions, and expectations can often cause us to be hardened and blinded to what God is doing or desiring to do. While God continues to do what he has done for all eternity, faith is needed for God’s presence to bear fruit. The blinders we wear and the expectations we bring to life can often prevent us from seeing graced moments that radiate with God’s graceful presence. They also prevent God’s transforming, healing, and hope filled vision for our world from being realized. Without faith, God won’t be able to do much for us either.