Did I Miss God Today?

Lenten Practice: Examen
Daily Act: Spend time with the prayer of examen and record in a journal/reflect on your responses to the questions for reflection below.

Questions for Reflection
1. Where have I been cooperative in God’s vision of shalom?
2. Where have I been complicit in a lack of peace in this world?
3. Looking back over my life, what are my priorities?
4. Where do my passions mirror the passion of Christ?

Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“SEARCH MY HEART AND MAKE IT ONE WITH YOURS.”

Today’s blog is by Dustin Davis, who wrote this while reflecting on his practice with the Prayer of Examen. Dustin lives in Los Angeles, California and is a member of the Community of Christ Spiritual Formation Team.

What has your experience with this practice been this week? How does the examen increase your awareness of God’s presence?

Did I Miss God today?
by Dustin Davis

I woke up today and immediately turned on the TV, filling my day with noise. Did I miss God when I didn’t take time to notice how after a night of sleep my chest was moving up and down, slowly and deeply, breathing in life-giving air? I jumped in the shower and began mapping out my day in my head instead of pausing to watch the sun rise, taking it for granted. Did I miss God then?

On my way into work the traffic was thick as usual, but I didn’t mind because the radio was keeping my ears full and my mind distracted. At a stop light a man was asking for money. Anything will help his sign said, and God bless. I managed a smile when he came to my car, but I kept my window rolled up. I quickly looked away in my own embarrassment and shame. The light turned green, and traffic moved forward. Did I miss God?

At work I’m hounded by questions all day. It’s the nature of my job, but it’s my choice how to respond. Sometimes people have problems that I can help with. Other times I feel like people are just pushing their responsibilities on me, because they don’t want to deal with them. Some questions I think are just flat out dumb. I wonder how some people have made it so far in life, and I might even exchange a mean-spirited joke with my boss once the person has left. Did I miss an opportunity to be humbled? To be compassionate? When I write people off, dismiss them, not take the time to hear them, do I miss God?

When the sacred becomes routine, do I miss God? I often take out the recycling in my office. I believe in recycling on two levels: one, as a way re-use and be less wasteful, two, as a statement about the importance of sacredness of creation. The act of recycling is influenced by my faith. It’s a sacred act. But what happens when I don’t pause to remember why it’s sacred in the first place?

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home to pick up some things for dinner. It wasn’t until I had already packed my grocery bag, swiped my card, signed the screen and finally said thank you that I even looked at the woman helping me. By then she was already helping the person behind me. Did I miss God in her?

It’s only from a position of looking back on my day that I can ask the question, Did I miss God today? After going through my day I can see that God certainly was there in every moment just as God is in this moment now. For that I am thankful. But a new question emerges. Why do I see God only in reflecting on the day instead of in the moment?

As I go to bed a prayer passes from my lips to settle in my heart- I will see God tomorrow.

Walking the Ancient Way

by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Last night I had the privilege of attending a candle light labyrinth walk in the heart of Grace Cathedral. Two women tended our walking with taizé songs. As I walked into this ancient symbol, I strained to make meaning of it. I wanted to experience the path so badly, that I was missing what the path itself had to say. I wanted to package it up and turn it into the perfect metaphor. I wanted to be able to tell stories for years to come about what happened to me while I walked the ancient way.

Then, a wisdom arose from the walking, gently urging me to release my agenda of making meaning. “You are turning this into an object in your story,” said the voice within, “Meaning comes as grace. You discover meaning. It is revealed. It is revealed by being fully present along the way.”

I took a deep breath and let go of my expectations. For once, I set aside my need to control an outcome. I just paid attention to each curve of the path and to the way my bare feet felt on the cool stone. I paid attention to the lofty architecture that inspires the imagination with the expansiveness of the divine. I paid attention to my fellow travelers- joyful, reverent, seeking. I noticed, and loved, how they walked the way. I walked my way to release, to grace, to longing, to wholeness. Meaning began unfolding all around me unmanufactured, abundant in accessibility.

As I considered the Lenten journey we are on together, and the insight I received in the Labyrinth last night, this blessing by Jan Richardson was on repeat in my heart. I want to share it with you as you consider how you walk this ancient way.

Walking Blessing by Jan Richardson
That each step may be a shedding,
That you will let yourself become lost.
That when it looks like you’re going backwards,
You may be making progress.
That progress is not the goal anyway,
But presence
To the feel of the path on your skin,
To the way it reshapes you
In each place it makes contact
To the way you cannot see it
Until the moment you have stepped out.