If God Feels Far Away, Who Moved?


Many years ago, I read the following question that was posted in some sermon or another and eventually made its way to the internet:

"If God feels far away from you right now, who moved?" 

I admit that I've used that question in the past during sermons or talks.  It's a pretty church-y question, but there's some depth to it, despite that fact.  The question implies something about the unmoving and annoyingly present presence of God all around us. 

It also implies that whatever we perceive as the absence of God is most likely formed and informed by our own inability to see God at work around us. 

And so many Christians spend all of their energy trying to perceive God on their own terms.  They lift up all sorts of man-made doctrines, dogmas, rules, and regulations that they falsely believe will usher them into the presence of the Divine somehow--as long as they can adhere to them. 

Some Christians spend so much time doing things in order to experience God that they lose sight of what it means to be a human that is simply being, which is all God truly desires of them. Because God knows that it is in the moments when we are brave enough to stop, listen and be that we will begin to truly understand how present God is with us.  

It's far too easy to lose sight of this when we are trying desperately to be what we think God wants us to be.  We can easily miss God's hand at work in our world if we are constantly busying ourselves with religion, rather than paying attention to our relationship with God. 

Theologian Walter Brueggeman recently wrote: 
"...the main mark of this God is not, first of all, omnipotence or omniscience or omnipresence, but it is fidelity, faithfulness, the readiness to stay with and stay for the hurting ones." 
So, back to my question.  "If God feels far away from you right now, who moved?"  The short answer of "Me," isn't all that satisfying, though.  Maybe this is a better and more complete answer to that question: "I may not have moved, but I've lost the ability to see that God is near."   

If you find yourself in that situation, maybe you need to spend some being, rather than doing today.  Maybe you need to pull your heavenward gaze down a bit and look around you at the evidence of God's presence in your life.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lorde Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 

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