Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Seeing God in All Things

Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.
                                                                                                --Meister Eckhart

This past Sunday afternoon I had made blueberry jam and two loaves of multigrain sandwich bread. As I reflected on Meister Eckhart’s quote above, I thought about how I saw God in these two activities.

Baking bread is always sacramental for me. As I dissolve the yeast and add flour to it I think about Jesus’ statement about how the Kingdom of God is like yeast that permeates a whole batch of dough. Seeing the dough rise I reflect on the risen Christ. And whenever I smell the bread baking, I am taken back to my experience in the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation, where the aroma of freshly baked bread filled our worship space when we gathered to celebrate Eucharist each afternoon.

My jam making also gave me opportunity to experience God. The fruit itself is gift, a reminder of how God bountifully provides all we need. As I crushed the berries, I thought about how we most often come to deep devotion to God by being broken. We have to know our own insufficiency to embrace God’s sufficiency. As I saw the blueberry pulp where once there were individual berries, I thought about the contrast between self-focus and giving oneself to the community for the sake of God’s kingdom. Just as jam is not possible without broken berries all mixed together, so the Church is not the body of Christ if we do not give our whole selves to each other.

Is it possible to see God in all things? In unpleasant as well as pleasant instances? When things don’t go the way we would choose as well as when we are in our happiest moments? I believe that our ability to do so depends on the expansiveness of our view. Can we rejoice in the success of another, even if we have experienced failure? Can we see that it is better that we do not demand our rights so that another’s rights can be honored?

I am challenging myself to look more closely at the mundane and the marvelous, and the joyful and sorrowful, at the painful and pleasant—and to see God. Maybe this is something you try for yourself.

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