“Ignorant of who we really are God’s children walk asleep. Creation waits with patient hope for God’s children to awake.”
Today’s world, even during a pandemic, seems busier than ever. Remembering and getting back in touch with the mission of Christianity takes time and intention. Providing and allowing ourselves a space of time to both remember God and who we are in God and to manage the creativity that will come out of that remembering is a challenge. However, if we are serious about Christianity and its promises I suggest we need to find ways to carve out this time for ourselves.
In fact, I am daring to say that carving out this time for God and ourselves with God is not an option when we are serious about Christianity and its promise; it is necessary.
From the beginning of our creation God yearns to spend time with us. The imagery of God walking and talking with humanity in the garden, and calling out to us when we are not to be found, illustrates God’s desire to be with us. Yes, God is always present to us, but let’s admit that we are not always present to God.
As I observe Christians of various stripes in our country the one thing I notice about most Christians is that, for the most part, we have lost the ability to walk and talk with God in the garden; we are too busy.
I am not talking about going to Church or attending a zoom mass. Gathering as a community for prayer, worship, and Eucharist is essential to being a Christian and forms us into the Body of Christ, but there is more. There is also our one-on-one time with God. Jesus came to deepen our relationship with God. When we fail to spend time with God we can weaken that relationship. Jesus modeled the way we can be with God by going off by himself. When he returned from these times away from everyone, he came back ready for ministry and miracles. As we build a relationship with God we will also renew our identity as the children of God.
It is okay to simply sit with God and say nothing. In fact, too often we do all the talking — we praise God, thank God, tell God we are sorry, petition God on behalf of others, and throw in some requests for ourselves, then we rush off to do something. I can imagine God’s frustration at not having time to respond, to hold us in love. We act like teenagers who are notorious for ignoring their parents in preference for their peers.
It is up to us to make room in our life for God. I like the images of taking time to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen; of walking and talking with God in the garden. I like the thought of imitating Jesus and going off to simply be with God.
If you believe you have no time to stop doing things, to stop talking, to stop making stuff, to stop producing, to stop earning money, that is a warning sign. It means you are not a free person. You have inflicted a new form of bondage on yourself. You are either subject to some master out there, or subject to something inside yourself. God means for us to live as free people. Taking time for ourselves to be with God is a way to prove, if only to ourselves, that, yes, we are the free children of God. God is all about emancipation. Taking time for God and self provides a way to feel and realize that freedom.
So, there are two reasons to take time for God and self. First, to intentionally set aside time for God provides us with the time to remember God; to remember God is the Creator and we are the creatures. To remember God is “Abba,” a loving parent who embraces us with unconditional love. We need to take time to “Be still and know that I am God.” We take time as Christians to remember we are the Body of Christ, the ongoing incarnational presence of Christ to our world.
The second reason is to remember that God created us to be free. We are not created to service “The Economy” and it helps to remember there are more important things than “The Economy.” We are not created to be “Consumers” either, though the systems that rule in our country would have us believe this is our role.
Through Christ we learn that all of Creation is meant to be free to become what God intends for Creation. All Creation waits for the children of God to understand we were created to be stewards, not masters of Creation. We are partnering with God to create something beautiful and awesome. Taking time to be with God reminds us to love and value Creation as God does.
So, my beloved ones, let’s take time for God and remember who we are in God, and Who God is for us.