Thursday, July 23, 2009

Spiritual Presence - is it here and now?

Cover of "A Diary of Private Prayer"Cover of A Diary of Private Prayer

I regularly begin my morning devotional time with a prayer from John Baillie’s small book entitled, A Diary of Private Prayer. Sometimes the entire prayer speaks personally of my quest to do God’s will and sometimes it’s only a small portion of the prayer. Taking a cue from another book favorite, Lectio Divina by Paintner & Wynkoop, I was compelled to settle on this particular phrase that seemed to speak directly to me this morning –

“I thank thee for the many spiritual presences with which I shall today be surrounded as I go about my work.”

I have no idea why these particular words were important to me today but I wrote in response to them a couple of pages full of questions. I share some of those thoughts with you now -

Who and what are these spiritual* presences and where are they to be found? In my home this am. – my spouse and my doggies? Well maybe, why not!

Who will the phone bring into my life today – a solicitor – not always welcomed, but they do enter through the phone receiver, a child, a favor asker, a friend, a call for help – do these persons and experiences fall into the "spiritual presence" category? Does a spiritual presence rely on my acceptance of the contact or are they, in their own right, spiritual presences as children of God? Are spiritual presences those that no longer dwell on the plane of humanity in which I exist, for it seems just too short a while, or are they persons gone before me in this life that I knew or perhaps never knew who are eager to surround my life with God's reassurances of life, hope and promise?

If I look away, not in their direction, will they remain spiritual or not? Will I lose my spiritual identity as God’s child as I pick and choose perhaps too cautiously where I make myself vulnerable to a spiritual happening or atmosphere?

Will I “today be surrounded?” Well, again, I question, does that depend on God’s ability or plan to gift me with spiritual presence or is that commodity totally dependent upon my rejection or acceptance of the gift that will be offered?

Spiritual presence – will I find it in the grocery store, on the radio or in my yoga class? Will I be someone else’s spiritual presence this day? Will I accept that gift and give it to someone else by my simple intention to do so? What do you think – “spiritual presence” – do you dwell in it, share it, accept it? Are you surprised that there may be a “spiritual presence” as close to you or to me as mere acceptance will allow?

As you read my words, perhaps you' ll stop just a moment and feel the unexplainable spiritual presence being given to you in the mere act that you are reading my words and believe it might surround you now. I pray that you will stop and recognize the gift of spiritual presence. Hold it for a moment and then just say, Thank you and Amen.

*Regular readers of mine will no doubt understand that I speak of spiritual presence only in relation to what I understand as a belief or presence of God/Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit. For me spirituality is not just feeling good in a forest for the forest's sake. Country Parson speaks of spirituality in his post of 7/22/09. I concur with his spirituality definition stated in the first part of that post.

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