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Missing out on God Moments

One spring I participated in a two and a half day silent retreat where I picked up two books by Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet and The Jesus Creed. In my reading and reflection times, I learned some principles of applying the stories of the Bible to my story and I reflected on possible God moments in my life that I was missing. As the Bible tells stories about who God is and what he has done, it can also help us learn how he is present in our lives, every day and into the future.

One reason God gave us scripture was so we could not only know it, but also know about Him through it. We must read, reread, and listen for how it is settling into our minds and hearts. McKnight says listening is mentioned more than 1500 times in the Bible and one of the biggest complaints in scripture is that people do not listen to God.

We must read, reread, and listen for how scripture is settling into our minds and hearts.

As I absorbed and reflected on these things in my own life, a passing experience of daily living came to mind. I was out running an errand and grabbing some groceries from Safeway one night. The pressures of the day with a young family had been taken care of and the kids were finally in bed. I grabbed a few things and headed to the only open till. The person ahead of me was a bit unkempt—my first stereotypical response was that they were a homeless person or at least living on low income.

They had taken more items than their bank account would allow and were having to try, item by item, to put some back until they could afford the rest. I was immediately annoyed at having to wait. This waiting was cutting into my one precious hour of relaxation before bed! I did not say anything or make a scene but my heart and mind were not in the right place and I was living out of judgment, stereotype, and division.

They had taken more items than their bank account would allow and were having to put some back until they could afford the rest.

I was missing the characteristics of God I should have been living out and also missing the child of God that this person was. I was not looking to see God reflected in them, or even myself reflected in them as fellow human being. I missed an opportunity to be kind, generous, to strike up a conversation, or maybe even start a relationship with them.

God was there, right under my nose, but I wasn’t listening to the Holy Spirit in ways that could have made that small seemingly insignificant situation a God moment. I wasn’t living out the Jesus Creed and loving my neighbor, I was forgetting the greatest commandments.

After realizing this, I have been trying to incorporate some spiritual practices to help me be more constantly mindful of God in my day. I try to recite the Jesus Creed to myself as I go through my day and I use short breath prayers as I encounter people or situations in my work and life.

God was there, right under my nose, but I wasn’t listening to the Holy Spirit.

If we can continue to develop these postures in our spiritual formation as Christians, we can aim to think like God thinks, desire what he desires, and love what he loves. Love is not just about emotion and feeling; it also has to include will, affection, and action. Love drives things like compassion, empathy, reconciliation, and justice. Again we come back to that oneness, seeking shalom justice by being reconciled to God, to those around us and to the place where we live.

As we come out of the hibernation of winter, get more active outside again and interact more with those around us, I hope we can see all of our friends, neighbors, and strangers as people created by God. May we encourage and strengthen each other to live and act in the love of the one who created us and gives us life.

It is a wonderful thing to see communities gather together in unity, oneness, and see the lives of those around us flourish. May God bless you as you live and serve others in this new season.

[Photo by Jorg Karg on Unsplash]

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