On the blog this week I thought I’d share some meaningful ways in which I have recently experienced the presence of God. Yesterday we explored how in a roundabout way, the story of Uzzah in 2 Samuel does give us a message of hope. We can experience God’s presence through Christ living in our hearts.
There have been countless moments in life I’ve known God to be close. I’ll highlight a few encounters, songs, and other things that have recently impacted me from the past few weeks!
The Great Outdoors
I mentioned that I was on vacation to Banff National Park in Canada last week. We filled our days with many outdoor activities like hiking, rafting, and climbing. As we saw all the glaciers, mountains, rivers, and wildlife, it was undeniable how incredible God is. Our world may be broken, but we can still see God’s fingerprints in the order and majesty of creation! So recently, nature has obviously been an impactful way I’ve felt God’s presence. Here are a few photos from our adventure:
“Kingsfold” Hymn Tune
While I was at a conference in Texas last month, one of the hymns we sung for a clergy memorial service was “Come Let Us Join Our Friends Above” to the tune of Kingsfold. (If you aren’t musically-inclined, many of our hymns and songs can be sung to different tunes!). This classic organ tune was absolutely stunning as we remembered several pastors and their spouses who had died within the past year. During this service, I remember feeling the comforting presence of God as we reflected on these words by Charles Wesley:
Our spirits too shall quickly join,
like theirs with glory crowned,
and shout to see our Captain’s sign,
to hear this trumpet sound.
O that we now might grasp our Guide!
O that the word were given!
Come, Lord of Hosts, the waves divide,
and land us all in heaven.
Death is a tough thing to face, but with our eyes fixed upon Christ–our Captain and Guide–we too can experience heaven, just like our loved ones do now.
“So Will I” by Hillsong United
This is a rather long song, but it definitely touches me every time I hear it. Hillsong United is one of my favorite Christian bands, and they capture the wonders of the world around us, from billions of galaxies and a world filled with creatures, to Jesus dying for our sins.
God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” by Charles Wesley
I got ordained last month (yippee!), and one of the songs we sung was another classic Wesleyan hymn. Singing this as we entered the sanctuary really captured the joy of the evening… and it also reminded me of the calling I have as a pastor to invite others to experience that same love of Christ!
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
So as you think about God’s presence this week, consider all the ways God might speak to you. Maybe it is through a song or hymn you heard on the radio or at church. Maybe it could be reading a bible passage during a time of need. Maybe it could be through the fellowship of Christian friends. Regardless of how your experiences go, remember to always cherish those encounters with God!