Saturday, September 11, 2004

Encountering the Living God

I often hear folks speak of being on a “spiritual journey” or being on the “Christian path.” I use such terms myself. But sometimes I have reservations about referring to our spiritual life as a journey. It may be a helpful phrase at times, but I suspect that it can also offer the wrong impression.

Our culture attempts to convince us that we are just one more promotion, one new house, or one new relationship away from nirvana. Such expectations might keep us motivated, but they also tend to keep us living for some future hope, rather than being fully present in this moment.

Suggesting that being a Christian is a journey can also lead us down that same perilous path. We might think that after we’ve learned more about prayer, then we’ll start a disciplined prayer life. Or once we “find the time” we’ll take one of those classes offered by the Church. Or once we are “better Christians” we’ll explore volunteer outreach opportunities.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that it is only in this present moment that we can encounter the living God. Now is the time to stretch yourself spiritually, as now is all we have.

Many of us share great hopes and dreams for the future of the Church. We seek a vision and a mission that will restore all people to unity with God and one another. These are wonderful hopes, and planning for the future is an essential way to allow these dreams to become concrete realities. But let's not give into the temptation to live only for the future. I think a bit of balance is needed. Let's offer our hopes to God, and then be mindful of the new thing that God is doing in our midst in this present moment.

In a sense, we are on a journey; to continue to grow into the full stature of Christ. I believe that this growth comes from working with God in this present moment to transform the world.

May we continue to seek God in the here and now, and allow our present relationship with the living God help mold our plans for the future.


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