Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From a Distance

—Julie Gold

From a distance the world looks blue and green,
And the snow-capped mountains white
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
And the eagle takes to flight
From a distance, there is harmony,
And it echoes through the land
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace,
It’s the voice of every man

From a distance we all have enough,
And no one is in need
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
No hungry mouths to feed
From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace
They’re the songs of every man

God is watching us, God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance

I heard today this song that Bette Midler popularized so many years ago. It promised that someday there will be an end to suffering and disharmony, for...

God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.

What utter nonsense.

God is not “watching us from a distance.” He is present, in the room with you, right in front of you, a foot away from your face, gazing at you with boundless love in his eyes. Think of that!

I’m sure you’ve heard of Brother Lawrence, the Carmelite lay brother who spent long years working in a monastery kitchen washing pots and pans and repairing the sandals of other monks, “a great awkward fellow who broke everything.” Though untutored, his profound wisdom and deep peace drew others to him to seek spiritual guidance. The wisdom he passed on to them, in conversations and in letters, later became the basis for the book, The Practice of the Presence of God, one of the most popular spiritual guides of all time. In it he writes: “As often as I could, I placed myself as a worshiper before him, fixing my mind upon his holy presence.” This must be our fixation as well.

But we forget. We need constant reminders. (A friend of mine, Bob Roe, used to throw wadded paper into corners of his room to remind himself that God was present. For myself and for the same reason, I have driven an old hand-wrought nail into the shelf over my desk.)

Our task is to remember—to remember that he is really, really with us, even to the end of the age, or to the end of our age, whichever comes first. Remembering is simply looking back at him and saying, ”Hi,” or ”Thanks,” or ”Help!” or “I love you too,” throughout the day

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe!


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