Encountering the Divine: A Journey from Distance to Presence
A Reflection on Divine Intimacy and Community
Today, I want to take you on a personal journey—a journey that delves into the essence of spiritual connection and the profound impact of community in our lives. This is not just a recount of an episode; it’s a chapter from my own life, a narrative that I believe many of you will resonate with.
The Echoes of Childhood: A Quest for God’s Presence
My childhood was steeped in the rituals and traditions of the church. I was there every Sunday, sang in the choir, and participated in all the activities. Yet, despite my active involvement, I felt a distance—a silence where I expected to hear the voice of God. It was as if I was on the outside looking in, yearning for a sign, a feeling, a connection that would bridge the gap between my dutiful participation and a heartfelt encounter with the divine.
The Samuel Moment: Recognizing the Call
The story of Samuel has always fascinated me. As a child, he heard God’s call but did not recognize it until he was guided by a mentor. This biblical narrative mirrors our own lives in many ways. We often miss the subtle whispers of the divine, mistaking them for the background noise of our daily hustle. It took me years to understand that recognizing God’s presence is not a passive act—it’s a persistent invitation and response, a dialogue that requires our full attention and openness.
The Disciples’ Response: A Model for Our Own
The disciples’ encounter with Jesus is another powerful example of this divine invitation. They didn’t just hear Jesus; they followed him. They left their nets, their livelihoods, their old selves behind to step into a life of closeness with God made flesh. Their response was immediate and total. It’s this kind of personal encounter that transforms us, that moves us from the periphery of faith into the heart of a lived experience with God.
The Role of Community: Inviting Others to the Feast
But this journey isn’t meant to be a solitary one. Community plays an indispensable role in our spiritual lives. Just as Samuel needed Eli to understand God’s call, and the disciples had each other and Jesus to grow in faith, we too need our community. It’s through others that we often encounter God’s presence most tangibly. It’s in the shared prayers, the collective worship, and the mutual encouragement that we find strength and inspiration.
Extending the Invitation: Sharing the Divine Encounter
As I reflect on my own desires and the transformative power of personal encounters with God, I am reminded of the importance of extending this invitation to others. It’s not enough to rest in the comfort of God’s presence; we are called to be active participants in sharing this gift. We are called to be like Andrew, who, after meeting Jesus, immediately went to find his brother Simon to tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41).
The Dual Aspects of Faith: Resting and Sharing
The message I want to impart to you, my dear listeners and readers, is twofold. First, seek to rest in God’s presence. Allow yourself to be still, to listen, to be open to the divine whispers that are calling out to you. And second, be active in sharing the invitation. Reach out to others, draw them into the community, and help them to experience the living God.
In closing, I invite you to ponder these questions: How are you responding to God’s call today? How are you helping others to hear and respond to that same call? Let us be a community that not only seeks God but also joyfully invites others to the feast of divine love and presence.
Thank you for joining me on this journey, and may we all continue to grow closer to the divine, together.