My friend helps me to better understand God. As is often the case, it is not by anything that is said. Instead it is a behaviour that seems to exude a God quality. I marvel at the quality. I pray that I might exhibit the same attribute.
Whenever we are with a group of people, my friend notices things unnoticed by others. As conversation develops my friend detects those who are not speaking and things that are unspoken. As shared laughter bounces off the walls, my friend observes the places of silence. I admire this, and note it.
As people mix and engage one another, I watch my friend gravitate to those not in the conversations; to those on the sidelines. Soon small talk evolves into smiles and the quiet are drawn into the circle. It is a beautiful thing to watch. It is watching God at work through my friend.
I think this is a quality that needs to be exhibited by the People of God. It reflects the character and activity of God. While society spots the obvious, the People of God recognize the undetected. Empowered by the Spirit of God, subtle changes are detected: the groaning of creation, the yearning for acceptance, the readiness for restoration. Such expressions are never ignored by God and should not be discounted by the People of God.
The Spirit of God also draws attention to that which is overlooked by society; sometimes by neglect, sometimes by a discriminating absence of concern. But the Spirit of God does not cooperate with such disregard. For the People of God attuned to the heart of the Creator, the over 1,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada must be noticed. God hears every cry; the missing and murdered Indigenous women’s voices may be silent but cannot be ignored by God`s People.
When a group this large has no voice, the silence becomes a deafening chorus. The church cannot hear everything that is detected by God. Perhaps God is using the family and friends of the missing women to amplify the silence so that the church can hear this throng of indigenous female voices. It would be easier to stay within the confines of society`s selective hearing, but for the People of God such luxury is unacceptable. We are compelled by the acute hearing of God; the One who detects every sparrow falling to the ground.
I am proud of a church that offers a voice into the obvious, but also draws attention to that which is overlooked.
I watch my friend push aside a desire to be in the centre of the conversational energy and instead be directed by the Spirit of God and draw in those on the periphery. I smile with gratitude.
I am glad that I am part of a church that seeks to pay close attention to the yearning of God`s heart. May we always take notice of that which attracts the attention of God and seek to position ourselves in such a way that the Spirit of God may flow through us to the world.
This is my prayer for this New Year.