Where and how were you closest to God today?

Feb 16, 2024 | WEEKLY WORD

There are all sorts of spiritual practices that we can use to become more mindful of God’s presence in our lives.

This year, for the season of Lent, I have decided to do an “Examen Prayer” as a spiritual practice.  Every night, before I go to sleep, I will ask two questions. . .  

First, I will ask, “Where and when did I feel farthest away from God today?”  The answers to this question usually come pretty fast. Someone in our house might be whining a little too early in the morning. There’s the stress of simply getting out the door in the morning with two young children to go to school. Then there are difficult personalities and encounters with all kinds of people, crazy drivers on the highway, etc.  Then I got superglue all over my hand while trying to fix a toy from the Dollar Store that was basically designed to break. It’s a toy from the dollar store. I could go on and on. . . See how easy the answers to this question can come? It’s very easy to come up with plenty of responses to the question “Where and when did I feel farthest away from God today?”

So after I ask, that first question, I then will ask a second question: “When and where did I feel closest to God today?” At first, it might seem a little difficult to answer this question, especially when life can be so full and stressful and crazy – especially when the world can seem out of control. But, as I reflect on my day, suddenly memories come into my mind. There was that meeting I was in where nothing seemed to be working out, and then, the Spirit moved, and all was well. We were given the gift of Hope, innovation and imagination. Then there was the moment of laughing with friends. There was a moment of making music. There was a moment in which, both of my young sons were dancing silly dances and laughing. There was the moment I had the privilege to speak to someone who is grieving and offer them God‘s peace.  All of a sudden, upon reflection, God doesn’t seem so far away. 

I don’t know what you may have given up for Lent if anything. But one of the gifts of this season is to either give something up or take up a new practice or both. And if one practice or “thing” doesn’t work, another gift is waking up tomorrow and trying again – maybe trying something new. My hope in using the Examen Prayer this season is to be able to point more clearly and more often to the gifts of God that are right in front of me – acknowledging those times when I feel far away from God, but also celebrating the moments in which God feels so close.

If you are looking for a spiritual practice, or some practical tools for your spiritual life, we do have the gift of a Devotional Book that has been printed for you.  It can be picked up at the church or mailed to you.  In the book, which comes from A Sanctified Art, you will find scripture, prayers, poems, and reflections on this year’s theme for the season of Lent: A Wandering Heart.

I hope that there is a moment – or multiple moments – in your day in which you feel close to God and I hope that this season of Lent will be filled with blessing.

See you in church!

Grace and Peace,

John


Prepare for Worship

This Week:  Jesus Sought Me (A Wandering Heart – Week 1)

Read Psalm 25:1-10

Read Luke 5:1-11 (you may also want to read Luke 4 for context)

Read or sing Hymn # 751 – “From the Nets of Our Labor