David Brooks in his column in the New York Times talks about “The Subtle Sensations of Faith” and that most believers “seem to have had magical moments of wonder which suggest a dimension of existence beyond the everyday. It might have happened “during childbirth, with music, in nature, in love or in pain, or during a moment of overwhelming gratitude and exaltation.”
David continues, “It’s a hard process. After the transcendent glimpses, people forget. Their spirits go dry and they doubt anything ever happened.” Brooks quotes Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “Believers try to stay faithful to those events. They assent to some spiritual element they still sense planted in themselves.”
For me, the magical moment of wonder was during my breast cancer journey where I felt the presence of God, and felt His love through so many people who cared for me. It convinced me that God’s kingdom is breaking through into our everyday.
There is a lot written from a medical perspective on how we can sharpen our senses of seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, and tasting. I’m concentrating on how I can enhance my senses to be more aware of God’s kingdom. When I take the time to slow down, my surroundings abound with evidence: the flutter of a leaf to the ground in early Autumn, a babbling brook, two birds sharing a secret at the zoo, or a hug from a friend at church.
It is only when I am ready to perceive that I can feel God’s kingdom surrounding me with protection and love.
Brooks says, “All this discerning and talking leads to the main business of faith: living attentively every day. The faithful are trying to live in ways their creator loves. They are trying to turn moments of spontaneous consciousness into an ethos of strict conscience. They are using effervescent sensations of holiness to inspire concrete habits, moral practices and practical ways of living well.”
As I go throughout my day, I’m amazed at the beauty that surrounds us, often when I least expect it. The photo below is from a day at the Nashville Zoo in March 2014. I enjoy photography, but am even more delighted to see the results when I get home to study my photos. This one reminds me of how best friends share a secret that only they know.
I pray that we will be open to experiencing God’s kingdom by watching attentively every day. God will not disappoint us, but will remind us of His close and ever-present being through seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting His kingdom.