How do you experience God?


Someone I know through Twitter encounters God in what she calls small beauties.  These are the little things, a cluster of wild flowers, a bird that comes close, a bee in the sunlight, a cat stretching in a warm patch, that keep her in touch with God.  They are a perfect point of Creation, reminding her that there is still great beauty in a troubled and troubling world.  For her, God is in everything, and each small beauty is a moment of grace.  It’s not just about God the Father Creator, because she sees Christ present at that moment of creation and Holy Spirit lights the fire.  The Holy Trinity is a dance that flows through everything.


Other people I know find God in great landscapes or sunsets – the big examples of creation.  When I worked in the NHS in Darlington, I took part in a Common Purpose programme.  One day, we were taken to a factory where they made bridges.  It was a huge building, like a cathedral.  It was the end of the day, and most workers had gone home, just a few left on the factory floor, and it was pretty quiet.  They were making two bridges at the time, a motorway bridge for somewhere near Manchester and a bridge for Japan that needed to withstand earthquakes and had to be accurate to a millimetre.  All of a sudden I had a powerful experience of God as Creator – not in the sense of pretty vistas and chocolate box images, but God as engineer, constructing things that served a purpose and which worked to enable connections and keep people safe.  And Christ was there, because what the incarnation means is that God is involved in all the stuff of human life.  And the Spirit was there, because that kind of creativity takes huge imagination and ability.


How do you experience God?


In the sermon at the royal wedding last weekend – yes, I am still talking about it – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was talking about God’s Love, because God is Love.  And Love is at the heart of the Trinity, the way the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit relate to each other, the way God relates to the world.  This is pure, unselfish, sacrificial love.  Love that shows us how to live.  Love that changes the world.  Love that means that we don’t need guns or nuclear weapons.  Love that means that children will have enough to eat.  Love that means everyone is family.  There is power in that kind of love.  When we experience love like that, we find ourselves in the heart of God.  When we encounter the power of love, we meet the Holy Trinity.  Where there is love, God is there.  And God want us to keep that love flowing and growing.  That kind of love gives life.


For ten days from Ascension to Pentecost, we followed the novena for Thy Kingdom Come, and people met together in the chancel to say prayers and use the readings and explore the pictures that had been provided.  It was a powerful experience.  Earlier this week, someone else who had been following the novena at their church told me how they had experienced the presence of God calling them to serve in a very particular way.  Sometimes God just creeps up on us.


How do you experience God?


We meet God in gentle ways and in powerful dramatic ways.  Sometimes we barely even notice.  It is like seeing God out of the corner of our eye.  We can train ourselves to take more note and when we do, we can be amazed at what God is doing in our lives.


Today Sophie and Stash are going to receive Holy Communion for the first time.  I have been going to their house and working with them over many weeks, leading them through a course of study.  God is important to Stash because he made pets and animals.  For Sophie, God created the world and humans.  And they are now going to meet God in the sacrament of Holy Communion, which is another way of experiencing the presence of God.  They are coming close to God, and God will come close to them.


On more than one occasion, I have met people or had email conversations with people who had dreams or visions of Jesus.  Wow!


You experience God in different ways at different stages of your life.  And the God you meet is the Trinity.  And though it’s always God you meet, sometimes your experience is more God the loving parent, or creator, or it’s Christ who gets alongside us and understands what we’re going through, whom we find in compassion and caring, or it’s the Holy Spirit, inspiring us, dancing in us, blowing the cobwebs away and disturbing us.  And we call those different ways of knowing God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


It is amazing that we can experience God, and in so many ways!


We can meet God because God loves us so much and wants to be involved in our lives.  God wants us to engage, to be open.  God wants a conversation.  God wants a relationship with us.   And God doesn’t limit us to knowing him in only one way – God meets us where we are, in the middle of our lives, and speaks to us in whatever language we are prepared to listen.


So how do you experience God?  Think of all the ways and all the times in your life.  And give thanks because you can meet God for yourself.


And then I have one more question.  How does God experience you?