On Engaging God


She said once that the way we encounter others is somehow related to how we engage with God.

I hold that today.

In a mid afternoon conversation I sit across the table from what is holy, my head held in my hand, my arm bent, elbow slid across the wood top, listening intently as the image-bearer makes himself vulnerable, expressing sorrow between sips of a creamy latte.

I make myself present.


[You have heard it said that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.]


I listen to the fractured story of this one who houses God.

I lose purchase of my own fears, anxieties, vice-like clutching at what I want, to say, to do, to be.

I let things fall, empty hands, to catch the weight of his hesitant words.


He says, “Aren’t we all standing on holy ground?

Even me with my history of failures and daily temptations?

Aren’t we all called to say ‘yes’ when invited again and again to be more than the sum of our fears and our stutterings?”

And I nod slowly, with my own sorrow, with my own recognition of how hard it is to say that yes, to really believe that it is not all dependent on my self-generated efforts at goodness, or lost in my mishaps.


[You have heard it said that there is none good but one, that is, God. Why do you call me good?]


It is good, this sharing, this open acknowledgement of wrestling with our yeses, of dousing burning bushes, of tempering passions,

I say, “I have been angry. I do not know how to pray my way out of my anger.”

I say, “I am afraid of it spreading like illness.”

I say, “I fail God with my anger.”

I say, “Is this a way of saying no to God?”


He looks at me.

He listens to the fractured story of this one who houses God.

We are quiet in our confessions.


[You have heard it said that Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.]


He says, “Do not be quick to judge the anger.”

He says, ‘Be compassionate with it.”

He says, “Explore it. Look behind it and within it. First.”


Maybe this is an invitation.

I want to stutter yes.


We sit exposed,

grateful, humbled, present.


We dwell on this engaging with God.

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