God in the Here and Now

God in the Here and Now

God in the Here and Now          Luke 20:27-38               Exodus 3:1-8

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. Mindfulness is frequently used in meditation and certain kinds of therapy. It has many positive benefits, including lowering stress levels, reducing harmful ruminating, and protecting against depression and anxiety.  Research even suggests that mindfulness can help people better cope with rejection and social isolation.

As I was reading the texts for this coming Sunday it struck me that mindfulness might also help us better connect with God.  In the passage from Luke 20, Jesus talks about how God is a God of the living and even people from the past are alive to God.  Jesus also refers to a story from the book of Exodus where Moses sees the burning bush and hears the voice of God coming out of it telling Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  God says, “I am” not “I was.”  God is in the present tense.   God is telling Moses that God is in the here and now. 

I am not sure if Moses would have heard God’s voice if Moses had not been mindful of his present surroundings. The Scripture tells us that Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.”  Moses notices what is going on around him and takes the time to “turn aside” in the moment to see what is going on.  His attentiveness to the present allows him to have a life-changing encounter with God. 

Is it possible that if we lived with more mindfulness we might also become more in tuned with God acting in our present situation?  If we were more attentive to the people and places around us, could we be surprised at the ways in which God might show up?  Might we come to realize that God’s presence was not only with people in the past, or something we hope comes in the future, but can be with us in the here now?

-Pastor Erik Goehner