Northfield

United Methodist Parish

Sunday May 17, 2020 Divine Indwelling

Sunday May 17, 2020 Divine Indwelling

The Divine Indwelling *

Today’s lectionary readings

In God we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17.28a)

…because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. (John 14: 19b-20)

I invite you to take some time to read and pray the prayer from the United Methodist Book of Worship. Each phrase has depth of meaning that might elude a quick reading.

What would it look like to you to live each moment with an awareness of living, moving, existing in God, always aware of the presence within and with-out of the one who created you?

When we do not live this way, we are restless. We “search for God and perhaps grope for God… —though indeed God is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17.27)

Our image or images of God may make us uncomfortable to think that we are always living and moving in God. If God is seen as Judge and Jury, as one who holds us to an unattainable standard, always saying, “not good enough,” it’s less stressful to keep God at a distance, perhaps on a cloud in the sky or on a far horizon, and to be someone we’ll deal with when we die.

But what if our image is of a Divine Indwelling that gives us life and breath and is the source and energy and reason behind everything we do?

Jesus promised in his farewell address to the disciples, that God would send “another Advocate,” a Protector, an Intercessor, a Support, a Comforter, i.e., the parakletos, the Holy Spirit, to be with us, who is with us and who is in us. We have been given this gift of presence of God’s faith, hope, and love. This is the Divine Indwelling.

Have you ever considered that every time you breathe, you “speak” God’s name? The syllables of God’s name “Yah-weh” (which was never spoken out loud) probably have their origin as an expression of breathing, inhaling on the first syllable and exhaling on the second. Our lives begin with our first breath as we inhale God and end with our last exhale of God. All the time between these 2 breaths is spent breathing in and out and living and moving, having our being, in God.

Take a breath in and imagine you are breathing in God’s presence. Let it fill you. Then slowly breathe out. Breathe in as you say “Yah” and breathe out as you say “weh.” Do this slowly and continue to be aware of your breathing and God’s presence with you. Imagine each breath filling your lungs and then finding its way into the cells of your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.

Breathe in God’s love for you and pause to let your body absorb it. Breathe out renewed love for neighbor and the world. Lift a prayer for those who at this moment are unable to breathe on their own and require a ventilator to get the precious oxygen into their bodies. Pray also for those who are breathing on their own but have no awareness that they are close to God’s love.

Filled with and revived by this Divine Indwelling, continue with the Book of Worship prayer:

Almighty and everlasting God – consider the awe of the magnitude and timelessness of God

in whom we live and move and have our being – continue your awareness of breathing

you created us for yourself – you were created by God for God, how does that feel?

so that our hearts are restless until they find rest in you – what does this restlessness look like in you?

Grant to us such piety of heart – what does piety of heart mean to you?

and strength of purpose – when have you felt strength of purpose, what did you accomplish?

that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing your will, how does ego get in the way of God?

and no weakness from doing it. – what’s in your repertoire of excuses for not doing what God desires?

In your light may we see life clearly – oh, that we may see life with God’s clarity of vision!

and in your service find perfect freedom; – how does serving God help us find perfect freedom? What does this mean to you?

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We do not pray to Christ; we pray through Christ. Or even more precisely, Christ prays through us. We are always and forever the conduits, the instruments, the tuning forks, the receiver stations (Romans 8:22-27). We slowly learn the right frequencies that pick up the signal. The core task of all spirituality is to teach us to ‘cooperate’ with what God already wants to do and has already begun to do (Romans 8:28).

~ Richard Rohr, The Naked Now, page 23*

May God bless your seeking for God and finding the Divine dwelling with you. May today’s prayer be another step on your journey of cooperating with God’s desire for you and for all that God has created. May you know the joy of perfect freedom in serving God through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Evie Doyon, May 2020


* I am re-reading The Naked Now: Learning to See as Mystics See by Richard Rohr ©2009 The Crossroad Publishing Company. Today’s lectionary connected with some of his writing in this book and I acknowledge that influence here (pages 21-26).