From the Brain to the Heart

I think I shared in one of my installments after the Revisioning Retreat at Kings' Fold that I have been haunted by Brother Lawrence--that I long to experience God's presence with me all the time. Spiritual disciplines/practices (fasting, meditation, centering prayer, solitude, lectio divina, silence, studying the Scriptures, etc.) are tools that have been used since the church began (most have their roots before then) in making space to encounter God. I know all of these; I've shared them and taught them to others. But truth be told, I'm terrible at doing them. It usually ends up that I do them just to do them. Another check off the checklist. But I don't make the space to encounter God through them. They have to move from my brain to my heart to my soul to my spirit. It's not about doing them for the sake of doing them, and it's not about doing them because they make God show up. No, in doing them, we say to God that we desire to meet Him in that time. We say that He's more important than the time that could have been used for other pursuits. And God may honor that--He often does. After all, He longs to be with us. He does have things to say to us.

So that's my quest right now. And I'm getting better. My tendency is to give up when I'm not successful. But again, the success comes in the discipline and practice of making space to encounter God. We may not meet Him intimately every time (though He's still there), but we're more likely to encounter Him in doing so than in not.

I've been having several discussions lately that this is what the church is called to do in worship more so than performing for Him or showing up in a building to sit and listen to someone talking about God (not that either is bad). But I have a feeling that this is what the church needs--what people are longing for, what God is longing for. We're not there yet. But my one small step will at least open me up to the practice of the presence of God. Anyone is welcome to join me in making space for God. It's a wonderful journey to be on.


Sioux City Sue said...

Dave, I've been thinking about worship a lot lately too, often feeling that the sermon comes as such an interruption to the actual worship experience. "Like tossing a brick into the birdbath," I told a friend. Kerthunk! Where did we get the notion that we must "learn" something every single time we gather as the Body? Is there another way to approach preaching? Could it also be a way of making a space within which to be with God and not just a "lesson"? What would that look like, sound like, feel like?

Pastor Mark said...

Thanks for sharing your experience Dave and not just keeping it to yourself. I was just thinking this morning about how I've been struggling lately to spend time with God, to make space for God, or to seek Him as I go through my day.

I often think that I can do this without him, and I probably can, but I know that I can't do it with much joy or success without Him. I'll get back to you on this one.

I'm going to start reading "Off-Road Disciplines" by Creps and see if there is encouragement in this area for me.