I was preparing one morning, to go do something one could call “ministry.” I was in my usual slightly excited, slightly nervous state as I hoped I hadn’t forgotten anything. And of course, I didn’t want to mess it up. In this final moment before heading out the door, I wanted to slow myself down in order to allow my heart some space to let go of that angst. I thought a song of prayer would be good as I sat and enjoyed my breakfast. I put on a song I love by All Sons and Daughter’s, entitled Christ Be All Around Me, in order to let that be my prayer. I so wanted Jesus to be at the helm as I stepped into my day.
I was walking across the room, with my bowl of berries and yogurt in hand, and had a strong sense of the Lord saying to me, “this time is no different than any other.” And then it hit me,
Every moment is holy ground.
Every moment is infused with the Presence of God.
I began to think about this and realized how different my life would be if only I could completely wrap my head around this fact. How cavalier I am with some moments. Some encounters.
I want to turn and look, to notice, as Moses did, when he saw that burning bush, the Presence of God scattered all around me. How I want to enter in, to the fullness of knowing deep within my soul, the reality of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.
I am reminded of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s words,
Earth is crammed with heaven.
and every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
the rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
I made the picture above to remind me, I don’t know what is around the next bend but I know Who is right here, with me. It hangs in my office as a daily reminder because I forget. Way too often. I find myself with those sitting around eating blackberries, missing the special things going on all around me. I settle.
I want to see earth crammed with heaven. Beauty. Kindness. Gifts of grace. I want to live, shoes off, knowing I am on holy ground, as all ground is holy because God permeates reality. I want to live in astonished delight because My Father in heaven exudes His perfect love, here on earth.
We live in the already and not yet of time. God’s kingdom is among us but we are still in the world where there is much hardship and heartache. So in the meantime, I ask you Lord, to help me lean in, more and more towards You. Help me sense this world crammed with heaven, Your goodness and grace, in the midst of it’s troubles, toils and tribulation.
I love music and actually have a playlist called Worship- Presence. So if music speaks to your soul you might try listening to All Sons and Daughter’s: Christ Be All Around Me. A few other songs I particularly enjoy are Fernando Ortega’s: O Thou, In Whose Presence (try reading John 10 with it), Phil Wickham’s: Thirst, Fernando Ortega’s: If I Flee On Morning Wings (try reading Psalm 139 with it).
I will leave us with what we at the Journey read every morning as we start our day together in prayer and in the Word. It has a very special place in my heart.
Read slowly, imaginatively and prayerfully,
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me;
Christ beside; me on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day with within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me on my left and my right.*
* This is a canticle, which is written on Saint Patrick’s breastplate (google Saint Patrick to read about it as well as learn his life was not about leprechauns, four leaf clovers, and beer). All Son’s and Daughter’s beautiful song is an adaption from his famous breastplate as well.
A canticle, by the way, is defined as a hymn, a poem, or little song, typically with a biblical text.