“The Lord your God is in your midst” proclaims the prophet Zephaniah to the people of Israel. We can echo this tonight. We have listened to God’s word proclaimed among us. At communion we receive the Lord Jesus, truly present among us, under the appearances of bread and wine.
However, for many of us, God’s powerful presence in church evaporates outside church, before the incessant demands of daily life. For the people of Israel, there was always a sense of a God present to them in daily life. As they marched through the desert God went before them; a cloud by day and fire by night. Today’s OT reading calls God “a victorious warrior”, who drives out their enemies.
Recently a student told me of an enjoyable day’s lab work. I’d like to analyse this experience. She had noticed an enjoyable experience. It hadn’t slipped away down the stream of life. She had noticed it and shared it. The enjoyable experience and the matter/ material she was working with ultimately goes back to God the Creator. This is Christian belief. God saw what God had made and God saw that it was good.
When we experience goodness, enjoyment in the created world, then that is an important venue for meeting God. Quality craftsmanship pleases us. When we touch something that has God’s mark on it, then that can be a moment of delight. Sometimes this is easy – like a glorious sunset. Lab matter/ material may require a more reflective interiority.
No good human experience is foreign to God: good relationships, good food, good weather – all that is good, all that is beautiful, all that is of value, all that is true is underpinned by the Creator’s genius. In daily Christian living it is fundamental to notice and appreciate this goodness; to give God thanks and glory for it. The next step, appropriate for Gaudete Sunday, is to rejoice, even to delight in God’s goodness, often revealed in our everyday experiences.
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Ian Tomlinson SJ