On Wednesday, the staff and I spent the day at St. John’s, Bellefonte, meeting with people from the Altoona Convocation, sharing in Bible Study and lunch together, and participating in a service of Holy Eucharist. It was a gift- as all of our Staff in Residence Days are- the fun of taking a road trip with the staff, of experiencing church together, of the quiet conversations and consultations that fill our hours, of kinship at lunch, (Deacon Alex’s corned beef! Wow!) all giving us a sense of purposefulness and refreshment.
At the noonday service, we sang a hymn, “You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd” (text: Christus Paradox, Sylvia Dunstan, GIA, 1991; Tune,Picardy) with a refrain that was new to me: “ You, (God) the everlasting instant.”
The “Everlasting Instant.”
In her text, Ms. Dunstan writes about the paradoxical presence of God- as Lamb and Shepherd, Prince and Slave, Peacemaker and Sword bringer- and, in all of these images, both the constancy of God and the fleeting-ness of God. The “Everlasting Instant.”
That is how I think of God as I review my notes for this week’s “God Spotting” incidents: both constant and fleeting.
I added another 80 moments of noticing God this week, faithful to keeping the hours and pausing on the hour between 5 AM – 8 PM to take a look around. I’ve gotten a little more subtle about it; I’m not dragging my notebook out mid-sentence or as I walk to the altar rail (jk) or head into a meeting or careen down the highway; the pattern of pausing on the hour is now quite ingrained in me, and my own internal alarm is working well. And God is faithfully noticeable.
This week I returned to work after 2 weeks of travel; I had been away on “church business” for two weeks and my schedule was mightily disrupted. I am able to roll with the punches pretty well that way, but I was surprised, this time, at how grateful I was to be home, back in the groove, back in my big comfy arm chair in the mornings and in my own bed at night, back in my kitchen, (cooking is one of the big things that I miss while traveling) and back to my beloved- and also to my sweet Wobs (the cat. Yes, I’m turning into a cat lady.)
My work is both a blessing and so hard. (The same for you, perhaps.)
My life is joy-filled and rife with moments of anxiety and stress. (The same for you, perhaps.)
I am humbled by the ordinariness of events that I record in my notebook, and the power of God to conquer, comfort, quell, inspire, buoy, sustain, invigorate and soften me.
God has walked with me this week in some very anxious moments offering me assurance and companionship. God has offered me, this week, the gift of compassion and the ability to listen with an open heart. God has been present, giving me a spirit of curiosity and creativity. God has been balm and solace in the restoration of routine and return to things-familiar. God has given me sharpness of focus and clarity.
And, God has given me delight in the birdsong of spring as the sun comes up. Love that bird chorus.
Where have you noticed God this week?