Sarah Champlin, Minister of Youth, Young Adults, and Mission
At Breakfast Club, we recently wrapped up our series on knowing God through our five senses. We saw God through a camera lens as we practiced photography. We heard God through listening for God’s voice in prayer. We tasted God through participating in the Eucharist on World Communion Sunday. We smelled God through incense and our own memory of other scents that are important to us. We felt God by going outside to connect our hands and ground our feet in God’s creation. By focusing on one sense a week, we returned ourselves to our bodies, where much of the work of “knowing” truly takes place. In doing so, we released ourselves from attempting to think our way around the God who surpasses all understanding. What hubris to think we can manage such a task with just our brains!
I’ll say it again—much of the work of knowing takes place in the body. Our bodies take in and store information in ways that our intellect has trouble keeping up with. I’ll be the first to admit that I often prioritize my intellect above other ways of knowing, especially when it comes to connecting with God. It’s taken me multiple theology degrees to realize that thinking really hard about God does not necessarily translate to a deeper connection. I wonder if you have experiences of sensing and feeling that have spiritually invigorated you: the transcendence that comes with singing a beautiful hymn in church, the joy of connection found in sitting down to a family dinner, or the vividness of memory rushing at you after catching a familiar whiff. In all these moments, God is known to us through the experiences of our bodies. I pray that you can continue noticing and appreciating God through your senses this week. Invite your youth to join you—they might be able to teach you a thing or two!