From Pauses for Pentecost
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
Many of us live with a split spirituality. This happens whenever we divide our lives into what we call sacred and secular compartments. On the one hand, we have the religious compartment of our lives. This part consists of when we pray, go to church, study the Bible, attend a retreat, and so on. On the other hand, there is the nonreligious compartment of our lives. This is the part that involves things like going to work, hanging out with friends, playing a sport, shopping at the mall, and going on vacation. We tend to connect the Holy Spirit with the first part and not the second.
The psalmist encourages us to see our lives differently. We are never away from the presence of God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit is present and active in every encounter at home, in our daily work, in our communities, and, indeed, throughout the whole universe. We experience the Holy Spirit all the time. The Spirit of God is always reaching out to us with God’s love and grace in moments of beauty, rest, intimacy, joy, and newness. Even in times of heartache and heartbreak, the Holy Spirit seeks to touch us with comfort, consolation, and concern. Wherever we are, God’s Spirit is present and active.
This is where the spiritual practice of “noticing” comes in. While God is most certainly present and active in every experience, encounter, and event of our lives, we can so easily fail to recognize and respond to this ever-present activity of the Divine Spirit. We need to learn to “notice” the movements of the Spirit within and around us. We should never split our spirituality into two compartments. The Holy Spirit is present in every breath we take, every task we do, every bite of food we eat, every hug we receive, and every person we meet, always seeking to bring us more alive to the mystery of God in every part of our existence.
Easter people know that religion is not their lives. Their lives are their religion. They know that where they are, God is always present and active.
Reflect on the past hour. Where and how has God’s Spirit been present and active? Give thanks to God.