December 9, Advent 2,
God is always present, but our awareness of that presence is sometimes stronger than at other times. It is like our human relationships. We know that our loved one is close by, but we are sometimes more aware of it than at other times. We get preoccupied with what we are doing. Our mind focuses on various things during the course of the day. It is not wilful ignoring of our partner. It is just that life demands that we give our attention to many different people and tasks. However, whenever we think of it, we are glad to know that the loved one is there. That’s the relationship that God invites us into while the promise of heaven is the promise to live uninterruptedly in that divine presence. Mind you, if our human relationships break down so that there is guilt or shame, hurt or alienation, anger or suspicion, then we try to avoid the other person’s presence, becoming secretive and closed in upon ourselves, deliberately freezing the other person out. That is exactly the situation that people live in unless they know God’s love and grace, acceptance and forgiveness. They close themselves off from the One within whom they live and move and have their being. Through Christ – living, dying, being raised from the dead – we have the gospel of redemption, the assurance of salvation, reconciliation with the One whose presence we have snubbed or denied. We are then released from the insensitivity that prevents us from being aware of God. At any time, when we give our attention to it, we become aware of God present in love and friendship. We live in partnership and cooperation with the Divine. It’s not just a matter of living with the comforting sense of God’s presence; God provokes, disturbs, challenges and motivates us to be involved in what God is seeking to accomplish.
- Do you sometimes have a sense of the presence of God? When is that most likely to occur?
- Do you agree that sin desensitizes people from experiencing the love-filled presence of God? How are we saved from this situation?
- What is the difference between believing in the love and grace of God and experiencing the love and grace of God? How are believing and experiencing related?
- What can we do to prepare the way of the Lord into our own consciousness (Luke 3:4)?