What jumps out at you as you read those letters all jumbled together with no space in between? There are a few ways to read those lines and interpret them with our own spacing of the letters. The two most common are GOD IS NOWHERE and GOD IS NOW HERE. Some might say it is an exclamation related to winter, “GOD I SNOW HERE!” but I think most of us see one of the first two. I first read of this play on words, or play on spacing, in “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver. It led me (and leads me) to reflect on which way I interpret the world around me. Do I believe that God is nowhere, or do I believe that God is now here? Honestly, I fluctuate between the two, though I do lean towards the latter more often than not.
Which way do you choose to interpret the signs of the times? Where is God in the midst of a pandemic? Where is God when people are dying? When there is a major health crisis? Economic crisis? Life crisis? Where is God?
I’ve had the opportunity to go to England several times in my life, and I’ve worshipped in numerous ancient cathedrals, from York Minster to Westminster Abbey and others in between. I thought perhaps I’d ”find God” in one of those sacred places that have stood for centuries, where countless numbers of people have knelt, prayed, and sought God’s guidance, blessing, and presence. I’ve been to the Holy Land and have visited Bethlehem where Jesus was born, and Jerusalem where Jesus was buried and resurrected. I have prayed at the Western Wall, where the Temple in Jerusalem was believed to have housed the very presence of God in the Ark of the Covenant. I thought that surely here I would connect more closely with the presence of God than I could anywhere else in the world.
I was wrong.
Though I did experience the presence of God in those sacred places far from home, I have also experienced the presence of God in very ordinary places much closer to home. There is, however, a type of place where I experience God more than any other place. Believe it or not, it isn’t at a church. The place where I most experience the presence of God… is a place I’ll tell you about tomorrow in the next blog entry. In the meantime, where do you experience the presence of God most in your own life?