Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message… Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me. –Colossians 1:25-29, MSG
The willingness to shed a few things, to live more simply, and to rely more heavily on God’s generosity so that our journey may be less arduous and cumbersome may be painful at first. But consider this possibility: What if what frightens us the most is actually an invitation to something new? What if the painful and the difficult is a path to resurrection? What if the blessings of less help us discover the more of God that we know is coming not just on Easter morning but that fills every moment? What if it’s really that simple? –Dustin Davis, Disarmingly Simple
- What are you afraid of or resisting that could actually be an invitation to something new?
- What blessings of less, in your life, may help you discover the God of more?
- Prayerfully dwell with Colossians 1:25-29. What is God’s invitation to you in this text?
Upon my bed at night
I sought him whom my soul loves;
I sought him, but found him not;
I called him, but he gave no answer.
“I will rise now and go about the city,
in the streets and in the squares;
I will seek him whom my soul loves.”
–Song of Solomon 3:1-2, NRSV
To experience the absence of God is also to experience God’s presence. So did the sparseness and bare simplicity of the desert strip Jesus of all but the most essential truths of his life? Did the lack of water, did his thirst, did his hunger reveal to Jesus a deeper thirst and a more driving hunger? Did it show him the deepest desire of his heart, to live as God’s Beloved to the fullest potential of his divine humanity? Did he discover that it mattered more to him to encounter a Living God than to limit his experience of God to moments of comfortable and comforting emotions? Did Jesus experience God’s absence in the wilderness as another face of God’s presence? And did his experience of Absent Presence sustain him for what lay ahead?
During this season of Lent, I simply invite you to test these possibilities against the realities of your own life. When and where has the hidden presence of God been revealed in your wilderness times of desert barrenness? –Laurie Gordon, The God of Barren Landscapes
- When has absence revealed to you what really matters?
- When and where has the hidden presence of God been revealed in your wilderness times of desert barrenness?
- Prayerfully dwell with Song of Solomon 3:1-2. What is God’s invitation to you in this text?
Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain. Even lowly jackals will have water to drink, and barren grasslands flourish richly. –Isaiah 36:6-7, MSG
Hidden presence revealed in the subtle, vibrant buzz of life. In the desert, that hidden presence is water; in the desert of the spirit, it is God from whom life arises and thrives.
We need only look to our own lived encounters with Divine Mystery to detect currents of experience that seem to both affirm and deny Holy Presence. Times of loss and desolation remind us that, at least as far as human perception goes, God is not always here. “Trying to give one’s life to God can be a very lonely business, especially when God often seems absent,” laments the priest Felix in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Severed Wasp. And yet life’s suffering is sweetly balanced with startling eruptions of joy as absence gives way to the awareness of loving presence that gives and sustains life. –Laurie Gordon, The God of Barren Landscapes
- Where do you discover the Spirit’s hidden presence in the seemingly barren places of your life?
- When has your perception been that God is absent? When has absence given way to “the awareness of loving presence that gives and sustains life?”
- Prayerfully dwell with Isaiah 36:6-7. What is God’s invitation to you in this text?