God Is Real And Can Be Experienced
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. Psalm 29:3-4
Many Christians have come to understand Biblical literalism as a problematic concept. If we attempt to read the Bible as a set of facts and force our worldview to conform to those facts, we find that those facts lose meaning and we lose the deeper more profound truths delivered in that ancient collection of scriptural texts known as the Bible. I believe that spiritual literalism or perhaps more clearly spiritual factualism may take us down a similarly uneven path.
God is real and can be experienced. But many attempt to experience God in the factual world, whereas I have found it more compelling to experience god in the realm of the spiritual.
If a car swerves in front of me and I hit my brakes and barely avoid a collision, I do not attempt to squeeze God into those facts and say, God saved my life. I see the divine presence in all the circumstances of life, not as momentary causation, but as spiritual transcendence and primal source. If the experience of a near miss, causes me to focus my thoughts on God, then it is in this sense that the near miss is a spiritual experience. The presence of the divine in all of life’s moments both subsumes and transcends the physical reality and dwells within us in a more profound and pervasive manner than we can ever realize. When we fail to see, hear, taste, smell and touch God’s presence, it is because we are relying on our senses for a physical emanation and we are closing off our spiritual sensitivity to the presence of God as source of all and in all moments. Thus the beauty and power of a waterfall may indeed inspire us to an awareness of the presence of God. But that is not to say that God is literally the waterfall, but rather that my awareness of my spiritual relationship to God was inspired by the waterfall. I understand the waterfall as a metaphor that can lead me closer to profound truth in much the same way that I understand scriptural metaphor as a beacon of profound, if not literal, truth. When we confess God as a mystery beyond understanding we can see God as at once present in all things but at the same time beyond all things. Spirit and element are infinite. To experience God is to experience love. The love of God is beyond our imagining. The love of God is spiritual.
Spiritual Practices for Today
Find a small natural object like a rock or a stick and hold it in your hand. Notice its texture, size, shape, color and weight. Where did it come from? Now contemplate God as the Creator of all things. Expand your awareness to include all the things surrounding you that are formed of God’s created substance. Consider your place as part of God’s creation. What are you feeling? Gratitude? Compassion? Awe? Happiness?
After spending time in meditation, consider this prayer:
Pray: Creator of rocks and sticks of atoms and universes, thank you for these moments of quiet contemplation. In your presence I feel loved, whole, connected, real. Help me to find the strength of mind and will to take my place humbly in your created order of things and be a blessing of your love and peace to all of creation. I pray in the name of your son Jesus. Amen.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 90:5e-f (adapted): “The elements are eternal; and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fullness of joy; and when separated, we cannot receive a fullness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, we are the tabernacle of God, even temples…”
What word or phrase caught your attention in this passage?
Read the passage again. How is this passage speaking to you today?
Download or open the Community of Christ app on your smartphone or visit www.cofchrist.org to read today’s Daily Bread and Prayer for Peace. After reading the Daily Bread, consider these questions:
What stories have helped shape you in Community of Christ?
How is your life story a part of an extended parable?
Pray the Mission Prayer: God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me the courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.
2021 Guiding Question: Are we moving towards Jesus, the peaceful One?