Stop and experience…

In my work, I attend a lot of committee meetings. There are committees on ministry, advisory councils, consistories, cluster meetings. You name it, I’ve been there. Usually, such gatherings open with biblical reflection, prayer or a short moment of worship. Recently, I attended a committee meeting that opened with a twist. Rather than lead us in prayer or worship, the chair of the committee made a simple request of each of us: “Share with us a moment when you experienced God in your life.” What a marvelous question, one we could all do well to ask ourselves on a regular basis.

For me, the answer came readily to mind. At the end of last month, my wife and I were able to get away for a few days to spend Christmas with her family in western Nevada. While we were there, it snowed. That night, after the snow had stopped, the sky cleared and it became clear as only a night in the desert can be. The stars literally popped out of the sky. The moon was nearly full and its light bathed the snow-covered mountains in a soft buy lamisil spray online white light that reminded me of the words of Clement Moore: “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow/Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below…” If that weren’t enough, off in the distance, a lonely coyote was serenading me with that ghostly series of yips and howls that no one who has ever heard a coyote sing can forget. That was a God moment if I have ever felt one.

So often, we ignore these simple, profound life experiences. We get so swept up in the whole process of formal worship–the liturgy, the set prayers, the music—that we forget God is more than a Sunday-morning phenomenon. We forget, or more likely simply turn a blind eye to the fact that God is with us, within us, around us 24/7/365. So, the next time you experience a transcendent moment, the next time you see the beauty of nature, hear the laughter of a child, feel the warmth of friendship, smell fresh-baked cookies, get a kind word from a stranger, don’t stop and smell the roses. Stop and experience God.

Tony Stoik, Associate Conference Minister

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