This afternoon I watched basketball. It was not the NBA playoffs. Teams from the "Church Under the Bridge" and our own church played in our Community Center. The afternoon was spent watching high school kids as well as some of our adults play basketball (with referees and awards at the end). It was a great afternoon and was fun to see groups from these two churches play and get acquainted with one another. God has a way of working through playing basketball together, eating hot dogs together, and having conversations with people like the guys I talked with this afternoon.
In order to see the potential of ordinary moments, I have found that I must regularly focus my attention on God. Practicing some of the spiritual disciplines helps me do just that. These disciplines have a way of cultivating the soul. Like a garden, my soul must be cultivated.
I like John Wesley’s insights at this point. He once wrote about his own discipline before the Lord. He wrote: "Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone; only God is here, in his presence I open, I read his book; for this end, to find the way to heaven." Wesley saw the value of spending time alone with God, living in his presence, and listening to his voice in Scripture.
Wesley once received a note from a minister who was complaining that he was too busy to find time for prayer and reflection. Wesley replied, "O begin! Fix some time each day for prayer and Scripture. Do it; whether you like it or not. It is for your life! Else you will be a triter all your days." (Wesley, Standard Sermons)
Wesley is right. Nurturing my heart is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Otherwise, I will not see life through the eyes of Jesus. Nor will I be attentive to what he is doing or wishes to do through me.
Brother Lawrence (17th century) spoke of "the practice of the presence of God." While cooking and washing dishes in a kitchen for forty years, he learned that he could "talk to the God of pots and pans." In his book Seekers After Mature Faith, Glenn Hinson writes concerning Brother Lawrence:
"The longer I have studied his conversations and letters, the more convinced I have become that his secret was simply to fall head over heels in love with God and let that transfuse and transform everything he was doing."
I will be away from my blog until the weekend. See you then.