Yesterday I was privileged to join the thousands of pilgrims who had flocked to York Minster to see the casket containing the bones of St Therese of Lisieux. People came from miles around, some with deep faith came to venerate the Saint, others with none came out of curiosity. The Christians who came represented a mix of denominations, I went because I have read her writings and out of sheer curiosity having never been to anything like this before.
To put it in crude terms I was blown away by the by the deep sense of God's presence, of gentleness, of holiness and purity. Today as I reflect upon the experience I recognise that there have been other places and other times when I have experienced a tangible touch of God. I wonder if it was because the message that Therese had is so much needed today, she experienced God as a God of love, and encouraged others to draw closer...
Where do you find God's peace and presence, is there:
1. A place that holds a special memory?
I have experienced worship around a round communion table twice - in the basement chapel at Simpson College and in the attic space of West End UMC. In both cases, we gathered around the table for sharing in the eucharist. Both had a small but faithful community who deeply yearned for something more in their relationships with God. Both were locations that were out of the way, and in some senses forgotten - but that's what made them so special. In some ways - in the candlelight and in the stone and in the darkness they both remind me of the catacombs I experienced in Peru and in Europe - the faithful huddled together seeking God no matter what.
2. A song that seems to usher you into the Holy of Holies?
"I love you, Lord" always does that for me. Especially sung a capella. I first learned it in high school for our mission trip to Peru and I learned it in both english and spanish. And then in college, we would often sing it in a big circle while holding hands. And the harmonies we would create!!!!
3.A book/ poem/ prayer that says what you cannot?
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Every single time I read it, I pray it, I get goosebumps. It is earthy, it is challenging, and it reminds me that I have to practice resurrection in this life - that we taste it and touch it everywhere if only we look.
4. How do you remind yourself of these things at times when God seems far away?
I don't. Which is a sad but true statement. I am desperately trying to put some of that holiness back into my life. I would really love to start a weekly evening communion service in my church, but I'm not sure how to do it without also sacrificing some of my family time. I guess the other part of that question is that I see God in all sorts of small moments throughout the day that I really just have to keep my eyes open - I just have to look
5.Post a picture/ poem or song that speaks of where you are right now in your relationship with God...
Tor Archer - Rooted Figure II I was looking for an image - mostly using my website title: salvaged faith. One thing lead to another and I came across this image. I would have posted it, but it's probably under copyright - so I just linked. It brings to my mind the longing I have to be rooted in God, to be rooted to this earth, to be rooted in relationships. And rootedness really has this idea of deep life for me - unshakeable, firm, committed. It is the structure of our very being. I am not a hunter/gatherer. I am not a nomad (no matter how much the itinerant system says so). I am rooted in community and in that community I find God.