From “God Travels with Us,” Brook O’Keefe, Herald, January/February 2022, pp. 12–13
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
As my slightly sunburned feet hang off the sides of my paddleboard, I realize I haven’t been feeling very “churchy” lately. I have regularly skipped online worship and ignored Facebook invites to young adult gatherings or mission center events.
Instead, I often find myself floating above resilient 3,000-year-old trees that still stand under clear water or hiking through forest green mountain trails on Sunday mornings. In their own way, these adventures have satisfied my spiritual hunger.
This is not to say that I have not felt spiritual lately, that I have not missed the people who gather on Sunday mornings, or that there is no value in organized worship. Being able to converse and worship with the people we love each Sunday is a blessing of stability and community. Rather, it is to say that God and the divine love God has for each of us does not reside solely within the Zoom worship space or even within our church buildings.
Our God is not a recluse who lives tucked in the walls of our buildings. Our God travels with us!
The mobility of the Spirit and the overwhelming presence of God’s love in every aspect of our lives is something I am often guilty of forgetting. In this busy world, it becomes easy to fall into a Sunday morning routine, going through the motions and claiming it as the spiritual center of our week.
The Spirit is not trapped behind the heavy doors that separate our church from our reality. The Spirit, like Jesus’ ministry on Earth, does not rely on a location. Rather, the Spirit is with us as we walk down Main Street to grab a coffee or dinner with friends, when we are doing dishes, and when we are hiking mountains or walking along the beach.
As we begin to make our way back into our church buildings, I hope we all find ways to satisfy our spiritual hunger outside of those doors as well.
My prayer for the future of Community of Christ is that we not only open our doors to others but also move outside our walls to spaces where everyone is comfortable.
Patient God, open our eyes, ears, and hearts to your world in need. As your disciples, move our hands, feet, and our words to bring your blessing. Amen.
Embodying God’s Shalom
Find a way to express and embody God’s shalom. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace and wholeness. Become silent and imagine you can hear the groaning of the Earth’s people, nations, and creatures. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom.
What images, feelings, and words come to you? What prayer for peace comes to you from your time of listening? Speak or write this prayer. What act of justice, kindness, healing, or peacemaking does God invite you to consider this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.