I resigned from professional ministry three months ago. I have not attended church since.
But, God and me? Never better.
I have new eyes.
I am seeing everyone and everything with eyes wiped clean. I have been starkly reminded that God is not contained - and never has been - within the four walls of any church, anywhere.
Nor is God only present in church-goers.
In fact, the spirit of God is present everywhere, in every living creature, in all of creation, and it is only our beliefs that blind us to this Reality.
Richard Rohr, in his book The Universal Christ, reminds us that the word "respect" or "re-spect" means "to see a second time." To look again at something, perhaps with new eyes, or new beliefs. Or through lenses wiped clean of pre-conceived, restrictive notions.
When I was part of a church staff, we often asked ourselves the question: "Where did you see God at work this week, or this month?" It sparked good conversation.
But I am starting to think that question was too small for God.
I wonder if the better question is: "Where didn't you see God at work this week? I think the honest answer to that - if we are seeing the world as God sees it - is "Nowhere."
There is nowhere that God is not present, or not at work.
Thus, our whole life is an opportunity - if we choose to accept it - to see God, to experience the Divine, to witness miracles and Mystery, in every moment. Every person. Every aspect of creation. Even in the pain, the suffering, the dark. In the most unlikely people and places.
Let me say this in a more grammatically positive way - God is present and at work everywhere and in everything and everyone.
This is the most life-giving surprise of the last few weeks. If I experience no new learnings from here on out, that would be fine by me. I barely have enough life left to live into this one, big truth.
Instead of leaving my home and wondering where I might (maybe) see God alive and at work, I now give myself this pep talk:
"Let's try to have eyes to see God in every leaf, snowflake, human face, the sky, the ground you walk on, and even in your dog's kind eyes today, ok?"
"Let's watch for mistaken beliefs that block your ability to see the Divine presence around you everywhere, all the time, ok?"
"Let's wipe our eyes clean, to re-spect, to see afresh, the presence of the God of great love in every living being, ok?"
These are now the questions that drive my days.
To re-spect God anew, I needed a lens cleaner.
What about you?