THE RECTOR'S CORNER

A monthly reflection written by our rector,
The Rev. David M. McNair

Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, Mars Hill, North Carolina

April, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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The Rector's Corner

The Location of God

It's not surprising that a bunch of Episcopal clergy on a recent Lenten retreat would discuss the location of God. What was surprising to me was that I had never considered the location of God which our retreat leader identified. Normally, my short answer to the question of where God is would be, "God is everywhere" or "God is found in the least of these." Or maybe I would quote the words of St. Patrick's Breastplate:

Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

This seems to cover all the bases of where God is to be found. There is nowhere God is not. But our retreat leader, Martin Smith, did not let us check off these answers and move on. He invited us to probe further into our imaginations and our desires for a more honest answer. He read Romans 8:26-27 to us:

"The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit…"

Smith then asserted that God, in and through the Holy Spirit, is located within the deepest parts of ourselves — in the region of our gut, our soul, and those inner places which are unconscious to us. And, from this location, the Spirit advocates and intercedes for us in sighs too deep for words.
In other words, God is more for us and with us than we know, and the Spirit is ever advocating for us with incomprehensible groans and sighs to God on our behalf.

Smith suggested that we take on a new practice to help us "get this" – so that we may awaken more to this incredible reality of God with and for us: In prayer, dare to communicate with God something that you have never put into words before. Probe your deepest desires and hopes and offer these with God.

I share this practice with you as we move from the season of Lent to the days of Easter. I believe this practice has the potential to lead us to deeper faith and joy. May we join with the sighs of the Spirit to awaken to the hope and reality of Resurrection!