I’ve been to a lot of church services. I’ve been to many different churches and many different kinds of churches. You know — there’s your typical evangelical church and the charismatic church. There’s the go-with-the-flow kind of church where whatever happens, happens and there really isn’t a preplanned way that things are supposed to be. There are churches that are more liturgical and planned out.
Some churches that I’ve been to focus a lot on getting “more of God.” The idea is that if you pray more, fast more, read the Bible more…. basically, work harder, be more devout and sort of prove your seriousness about it, God will grace you with His presence.
I have never been a fan of the concept of striving for God. I have never really agreed that God responds to the formulas that we create. In fact, when I’ve been presented with that doctrine in church settings, I’ve been the person who was sort of “civilly disobedient.” They would say “God will come if we shout.” (Or dance, sing, speak in tongues, evangelize, raise our hands, turn around in circles 3 times and say boo, or any number of other things.) Most of the time I would not do it. These things didn’t feel “right” to me.
I recently came across this quote from Richard Rohr:
We’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.
It’s true. God is omnipresent. That means that God is present everywhere at the same time. To say that you have to strive for God’s presence is to say that God left that place at some point and you have to do something to make Him come back.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there, your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say “surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
The night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to you.
He is present everywhere. We can’t get more of Him. We can only become more aware of Him. All the striving is useless. Awareness comes with stillness.
Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!