I went to church. I did, me, Trevor, I went to church and… I liked it. Not saying I haven’t been going to church, but I will say it has been a while sense I liked it. But I also want to disclaim how it has nothing to do with church and everything to do with me.
I’ve read a lot of articles on how to keep millennials in the church. (Who by the way I am apparently…) (Never wanted to die more in my life than when I found out I was a millennial) I have read a lot of articles on why you should leave the church. I have listened to a lot of pod casts saying how the church is dead, and I have listened to a bunch on how vibrant and alive it is. And so, you too probably.
My question during the sermon was exactly the reason why I love church. It happens in club talks, it happens in sermons, it happens in a movie, it happens when someone is speaking, but you can’t predict it. Something triggers your brain, and you get a thought. You get an idea, you get an inkling, or a gesture to something you could have never have had if you hadn’t been at church/club/movie/conference.
But, Church creates space. It is what it has always done and will always continue to do. My pastor friends and anyone who speaks in public will be able to tell you what I am about to tell you. We are people who are able to give you and create in you some space for ideas to come, epiphanies to happens, and places to be opened up. I could write a book on how many people come up to me after I speak and tell me something about my talk in which I never actually said. Somehow they gleaned something from my talk, but then repeated back to me something that never came from my mouth… its somewhat crazy, and awesome.
The other day this thing happened to me. This pastor kept talking about God’s presence. How if we could be in God’s presence we would never want to leave.
and so my mind began to race…
God’s presence, as if it is a place you can go. A magical world in which exists no crying, no worries, no stress, no anxiety, no hurt, no pain, and God. Maybe you get there by reading more and more of the bible. Maybe this place exists only at church. Maybe it is not a place? Maybe it is a person? Maybe, The infinite, unfathomable, the indescribable, the one in which no one could ever grasp will be in front of you. And my brain started circling, aching, and filling with wonder. What does it mean to be in God’s presence? Can you be? Is that a thing? Why is this guy not saying what it is? He only said what you get from being in God’s presence but not actually telling us how to get there, or where it is, or how you can stay for a while… and so, I still don’t know, but this is what I came up with. With the space he created in me at church I started thinking about this quote.
“We’re already in the presence of God, what’s absent is awareness”-Rohr. And it all made sense. We are all created beings, in the midst and on the planet in which the creator decided to show us all of its Glory. We walk by image bearers all day long. We have conversations with spiritual beings having human experiences, and every emotion, pain, love, joy, hurt, anxiety, and stress all have a place. What if we became more aware? More aware of God. More aware of his presence surrounding us and in us. What if we were more tuned in and in constant awe of this life we get to live. Even the pain, the joy, the struggles, are all a part of this presence of life we live and move and have our being.
I just received an email that made me really mad, then angry, and then fearful. So proof reading this post made me sit for a second and be thankful for all those negative emotions because they have a place. And now I am feeling at peace with the email I received. And I am grateful I will be able to watch how God shows up in this really trying time.
But, I wouldn’t have had that question if I hadn’t gone to church and my mind race off into the space the pastor had provided. Can we be more aware of God today? Can we be more mindful of God’s presence all over the place, and deep within us all?
Maybe we can try.