Posts Tagged ‘God’s presence’

HA altar-301-XL

courtesy of Gordon Henry, photographer

In the church where I work, it is customary to leave a remnant of the consecrated bread and wine in a cabinet on the altar called the Tabernacle. (The white curtained area under the brass dome and the cross.) That way, Christ is always present in the Sanctuary. It’s a tradition that stretches back as far as the regulations in Exodus, which was carried into the early Catacombs where the first Christians worshipped, and is still practiced in many churches today where the Holy Eucharist (Communion) is celebrated.

Exodus 25:8, 30  “Then have them build a sanctuary and I will dwell among them…Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times..” 

A perpetual candle on or near the altar area is lit, to signify that the consecrated elements representing Christ’s body and blood are present in the Tabernacle. When the candle it a glow, it is customary to bend a knee before the altar to honor God and to recall that one day every knee a shall bend at the name of Jesus. (Philippians 2:10)

Throughout the week, I bop in and out of the Sanctuary. I straighten the hymnals and distribute offering envelopes, visitors cards, etc. I place bulletins  at the entrance and put one on the organ bench for the organist.  ON the lectern, I leave large-print Scripture passages as well as the prayer list for the readers. I change the hymn board numbers. I take deliveries of candles, unleavened wafers, wine and linens to be placed in the locked sacristy until they are needed for the services. At times, I pray in there as well.

Each time I enter, I can walk down the center aisle, bow to the Tabernacle, and then go about whatever it is I came to do. Or, I can sneak in the side entrance, go down the side aisles, and bypass the altar. Well, truth be told, if I am in a hurry, I often sneak in the side. I don’t take time to approach the altar, dip my knee reverently and quietly, and then proceed with the reason I entered. I’m just going to dash in and back out again.

One day, God convicted me. That quiet, booming voice inside my heart asked, “Why do you ignore my Presence?”

I slipped to the altar, knelt and whispered, “I’m sorry.”

How often do we skirt God during our day? Aren’t there times we feel Him tug on our shirt and say, “Hey, smile and nod to that person over there,  give that homeless beggar a dollar, call so-and-so because they need to hear your voice, or stop and pray for this person whose name I have flashed into your brain?”  But in our busy-ness we skirt His whisperings and go about our tasks. We  try to schedule a time to read His Word, to speak to Him, and hopefully to listen. But, much of our day is  – “I’ll get back to you on that, Lord.” That is, until we need HIm. Until we get that phone call, slam on our brakes in a near-miss, or feel anxiety inch into our chests. Then, we bow a knee, right?

God is always present in our lives once we have “tabernacled” with Christ and allowed Him to become a part of our hearts. We cannot escape God. Like Adam and Eve we don’t have the privilege of being able to hide from Him. He will seek us out.

The Psalmist wrote, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Psalm 139:7

I found God (again) today in the church sanctuary where I work – a reminder that His presence is always there with me.  LIke the perpetual candle flame dangling from the gold chain to remind anyone who enters that God is in their midst, I have Christ’s light inside me to remind me His in in the midst of me.

Lord, let me never choose again to ignore you, or try in my hurriedness to skirt around You. May that tabernacle remind me to always bow a knee before You and acknowledge You in my day.

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MP900444553[1]If your day is like most of us, you barely have time to breathe, much less find time to spend with God. Right?

Wrong –

Even though technology is sucking time away from us by making us available 24/7, ( how many of you have been awakened in the middle of the night by that text “bling” on your phone and wondered if you should get up and check it or roll back over?) we can find time for God if we realize that God is always present- in the present.

He is the great IAM, not the I was a second ago, or I will be in a moment.

Brother Lawrence, a Medieval monk who penned Practicing the Presence of God had it right – My set times for prayer are exactly like the rest of the day to me. They are but a continuation of the same exercise of being in God’s presence.

So, to squeeze more God-tIme into our day , maybe we should think about how to squeeze more of our day into our time with God.

He will help you with that.  Just ask Him to show you how.

Our Lord wants to hang out with you so much, He hung on the cross so He could.


for more thoughts on how to squeeze more God-Time Into Your day, click on the picture below

Squeeze cover

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?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Today, I heard a small grind, like the way phonograph needles would sound when they reached the end of a song on an old record player.  A tree limb  rubbing on my window screen? No… too constant.  A weird brid call? No… ah, hah!  It sounds as if it’s going in a circle. Yep, the ceiling fan.

That ceiling fan in my bedroom runs 24/7/365. In winter it pumps the heated air up and around the room. In summer, it is needed to force the air conditioned coolness over me in a refreshing breeze. Ahh – afterall, it is 104 degrees F out there today in North Texas.

Most of the time, I forget it is there. It keeps churning and doing it’s thing. I take it for granted.

In my life, I often don’t hear God. Yet His Spirit which dwells inside me is proof He is always there. Scripture says He will never leave or forsake me.  Every once in a while, I hear Him grinding away at my attitude that needs adjusting, or shaping me for the next ministry He has in store for me, or molding me into the person He knows I can be.  Like the potter at the wheel, He patiently works, whether I notice or not.

Lord, forgive me for the times I take Your loving mercy and grace for granted. Renew in me an awareness of You in my life so I may praise You more often.  You are more than worthy, and I am nothing without You. Amen.

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