Sunday, January 10, 2010
I hung out with God today.
At 6:30 am I rode my motorcycle from my home through the oak trees of Constantia, over the winding mountain pass, and down into Hout bay. I encountered God in the crisp early morning air, the beauty of the new sunlight on the mountains, and the sparkle of the sea. I joined 1 000 runners in a road running race between Camps Bay and Houtbay and encountered God in the encouragement given me by both spectators and fellow runners. I met God in the joy of sharing a family breakfast in Dunes restaurant. We laughed together, watched dolphins frolicking in the waves, and were proud of Granny (my 85yrs old mother-in-law) who completed the 5km fun run.
This afternoon our family went for a picnic at Kirstenbosch. We were entertained by Freshly Ground (a local band) and encountered God in the music, the awe-inspiring setting, and the friendly camaraderie of about 5 000 other picnickers. So I come to the end of a perfect day – a day infused with the presence of God.
Today I did not find God in a Church.
Most Sundays I spend inside of Church buildings. I normally have three Sunday services, sometimes four. My Sundays are consumed with the people who meet inside the buildings. And I love them dearly and find great joy in being with them. I also appreciate how the weekly routine of worship keeps me spiritually grounded. But today I was reminded that God is not trapped inside of a Church building. I was reminded that there are many more people outside of the church buildings than there are inside. These are not unspiritual people – they are just people who do not find church helpful in their spirituality. Instead they run, they cycle, they climb mountains, they go to the beach, and they share breakfast as families and friends.
Today I was reminded that I dare not reduce my reality to my church. The church is an important part of my life – but there is another world outside of the fellowship of my church. And I am reminded of John Wesley who insisted that “the world is my parish.”