By The Reverend Christine V. Hides
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. parents will gather together online to discuss how we might make room for God in the midst of an often over-scheduled holiday season. Please join me for a time of discussion and prayer intended to center us on what matters most before we are swept up in the bustle of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Where is God in the midst of our hurried, often stressful everyday lives? How do we encounter God? Yesterday was a day when the same questions popped up in multiple places in multiple ways. Driving to church I listened to Roger Hutchinson, an artist and author, tell the story of the time he felt God’s presence more strongly than ever before after throwing his paintbrush to the side in frustration. Dipping his fingers into the paint, his art became a prayer. His books and art have become a way for others to encounter God.
During yesterday’s Godly Play Chapel we heard about the Ark and the Tent, a brand new story at Kenilworth Union. Greta explained how the Ten Commandments were placed in a golden ark. Incense, an altar, and other important rituals and objects were used to prepare to approach the ark. For the people who followed Moses into the wilderness to freedom, the ark was where God’s presence was known to them.
Yesterday our Sunday school encountered God in nature, breath, art, and community during Discovery Day. Our hope was that children would recognize that no matter what we are doing, we can turn our hearts and minds to God, and God will meet us wherever we are: in the slowed down breaths of yoga or a walk, in the wind rustling the leaves stubbornly holding on to the trees, in the joy shared while playing games, in the vibrant colors and textures of our painting. Our praise and prayer involves our hearts, our minds, and our whole being.
We ended our Discovery Day with worship and communion in the chapel and remembered that Christ meets us around the table in the bread and the cup, too. Thanks be to God.
Activity: Encountering God
Start with a question: Children do not hesitate as adults sometimes do when asked where they feel close to God. Consider making this question a part of your daily routine for a week, a month, or a season, and see how it changes the conversation about God in your home.
Take God with You: The following apps and online resources are great reminders to pay attention to God’s presence throughout the day.
Pray as you Go includes audio meditations for adults and children.
The Five Minute Journal App from Intelligent Change (not free) includes a daily quote and a reminder to record what you are grateful for with words or photos.
The Daily Office from the Mission of St. Clare (website or app) offers traditional morning, noon, and evening prayers.
Kenilworth Union’s sermons are available as podcasts to listen to in the car.