Experiencing God

Yesterday, I shared the message with a little congregation near my home. As I usually do, I thought I’d share that message here.

How have you experienced God recently? How have you experienced the Holy Spirit?  How have you experienced Jesus?  Today is Trinity Sunday, a day to think about the Trinity but I’m going to be honest… trying to explain the Trinity is WAAAAYYYY above my pay grade.  So instead today, I thought we’d think about ways, places and so on that we experience the Trinity – traditionally stated as Father, Son and Holy Ghost or more easily – God, Jesus, Holy Spirit.  Will you please pray with me? 

May the words of my mouth, and meditations of all of our hearts and minds be acceptable to you, O God, our rock and our redeemer.  Amen.

Okay, so really, I’m asking you right now… How have you experienced God lately?  Just shout out your answer and if you want to share a little more about it let me know!

( They shared some beautiful examples with me! Grandchildren stories, nature, friends showing up out of the blue and many more.)

Some of places where I experience God are outside in nature.  I mean to see a dandelion pushing up through the cracks in the sidewalk or driveway.  Now my husband probably doesn’t think of God when he sees this but think about it!  That little seed pushing up through something so solid and strong, pushing up against the seemingly insurmountable and succeeding and blooming as if to say nothing is going to stop me from my purpose! Oh, to be a dandelion…

Watching birds build a nest carrying things that to us seem so useless to make a safe warm nest to lay their eggs, and then nurture them from egg to hatchling.  It’s amazing.

To watch an ant carry 60 times it’s own weight to help feed and build up it’s community… how is that even possible?  God.

Or how about a Sunrise or Sunset?  The beauty they share each and every morning and evening, like a painting in the sky for all to see.  Or the beach or the mountains, the rolling hills or plains?  The feathers of a peacock, or the song of the birds.  The wind your cheek or in your hair.

I’ll be honest, the last few weeks though, I’ve struggled with… God, the idea of God, even the existence of God!  Where is God in the midst of the strife in our country?  Where is God in the shootings of innocent children, women and men?  Where is God?

I remember after the Oklahoma City bombing our neighbor, an atheist, came over to sit with me in the backyard and she asked me these very same questions.  She went even farther and asked me how I could believe in a God who let things like this happen.  I remember very clearly saying to her that I had to believe.  I had to believe that God was in that daycare that day with those children, holding them close, arms wrapped around them shielding them from the pain we all know was there for them to experience. (after the service someone came up to me to talk about this and I realized that I must not have articulated this very well, many children were killed that day, I just chose to believe that God was with them and I hope he kept the pain away.)

A few days after the school shooting in Texas in last month, I heard my own words in my head and I tried hard to believe them again.  But the many mass shootings we’ve had here in our country, have crushed my naivety and I struggle to experience God then.

In fact, I wrote this sermon two days after the shooting.  I was really struggling.  I still am!  I am reminded though of a quote I’m sure we’ve all heard from Fred Rogers, “Look for the helpers.” 

At this point I feel I need to be a helper!  But honestly, I’m unsure how!  I don’t know what to do to help rid this country of the terrible violence that is spreading like wildfire. 

I actually wrote several Laments that week of the shooting and shared them on social media.  I don’t know why, really but I was just trying to effect change in my little world hoping that it will effect a larger change.  I’ve prayed over and over to experience God, to hear God, to be shown by God what to do, to be lead by God in my next steps.

What can I do as an individual to effect change?  What can I do with my life, with my words, with my feet to show God to others and to help bring about God’s kin’dom here on earth, right now?

Then I remembered other ways, I’ve experienced God through the years.  Hearing someone’s name whispered in my mind or heart and then reaching out to them only to find out that they were desperately in need of a friend, or of some kind words at that moment. Hearing how it made a difference in some way in their day or life.  That’s God.

How many times have I had someone say to me, how did you know?  And then know that it was God.

How many times have I made a donation to small local organization only to learn a little bit later that they were able to do something wonderful for someone.  Not saying that my donation did that but my donation combined with the donations of others did do that!  That’s God.

Having someone buy our dinner because they saw that we were a military family at a time when we were getting ready for a deployment and were feeling sad, low and alone.  That was God.

I’m still working on how and what I can do to effect change, REAL lasting change in the world around me but for now, I’ll just keep working in my own little world, hoping to show someone else a little glimpse of God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit in some small way that touches them and moves them to do the same for someone else.  It might be a hug, a card, an email or text, or a phone call.  It might be baking bread for someone, or a whole meal to a grieving family.  Or it might be just experiencing God for my self out in Nature and sharing that experience with others or just experiencing it and letting it renew me, touch me, touch my heart, my soul in such a way that it renews and moves me to continue on to do the not so hard work of loving my neighbor, of sharing my bounty, of listening to the needs of others so that maybe it will have a ripple effect, rippling outwards until we all have effected change , REAL change in this world. Amen.

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