presence of god

Embracing the Powers that Be

God’s saving power is for all people across time and space. God wills us to believe in divine power, to call upon it, and to respond in faith when we perceive it at work around or within us. We get so lost in our own limited realities that we forget the reality of what is possible with God. We put human power above God, forgetting that God called all creation into being. Power begins and ends with God. And God cares about the details of God’s creation, from the awe-inspiring placing of the stars in the universe to domestic care for ailing mothers-in-law. Continually God uses God’s power to draw us to fullness.

We endure and continue in faith only because of God’s sustaining Spirit—yet we still have responsibilities. What do we do with the invitations to belief, discipline, commitment, perseverance, witness, and proclamation? How do we remain open to God’s transforming power, allowing our lives be a light that breaks through the darkness of fear, hunger, sickness, poverty, oppression, enslavement, and captivity? The first three Sundays this month steep us in the reality of God’s power and presence. We are reminded who God is, of what God is capable, and how we are called to follow. The month closes with the first Sunday of Lent. We know what the coming weeks will bring. The reality of Lent could not be endured without the reality of God’s power and presence offered in these initial weeks.

Enuma Okoro, of Durham, North Carolina, is the author of Reluctant Pilgrim and co-author of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.

[ February 5 ]
Wonder-Working Power
Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11,20c;
1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39

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OCTOBER Remembering Our Identity

God is a God of order. The first order of business is to remind creation that God is the only true God. Our God is the one who creates, saves, and redeems, who expects creation to respond to God’s goodness.

But we struggle to remember who God is and who we are called to be.

Instead, we cling to pieces of our past identities because what we know always seems more reliable than forging ahead without a detailed map. Despite story after story of God’s faithfulness, despite God becoming human in Christ, it is still not enough for us to remember why putting our future in God’s hands is a good idea. We want God on speed dial, ready to dole out whatever we imagine we need for our security. We want a “just add water” relationship with God, bypassing the wilderness spaces and uncertainties that come with authentic love. Walking by invitation and in loving faith is not for those who want to create gods who will abide by their own rules.

Thankfully, God knows who God is and chooses to remain present as we tenaciously cling to our old ways. When we forget who is God, God reminds us. The eternal God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow invites us, God’s straying sheep, to live in the present in a way that honors God’s work in the past and God’s call to the future.

Enuma Okoro, of Durham, North Carolina, is the author of Reluctant Pilgrim and co-author of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.

[ October 2 ]
Gratitude or Entitlement?
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 80:7-15; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46

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