The Street Psalms community offers these words as a guide through this movement.
You are Immanuel–the God who is with us. There is nowhere we can flee from your presence, and nothing can separate us from your love. We accept your invitation to relax into this miracle–to notice and to welcome your presence in all things everywhere–even here, even now.
I’m sure we’ve all heard people say the words, “God, we pray for your presence to meet us here.” or at least a variation of that sentence. It wasn’t until I engaged in spiritual practices similar to the Examen that I began to see the deep truth that renders those words needless–God’s presence is always here…wherever “here” is.
This movement of the Examen invites us to become more aware of that reality. Are we truly aware of God’s presence in all contexts? Our awareness is often hinged upon what happens to be taking place. If we are in the midst of deep struggle, it can be difficult to feel God. It is easy to go into that place of doubting that God is actually there. Afterall, why is this even happening if He/She is?
One of the deep desires of the Street Psalms community, as well as Mile High Ministries, is that we become capable of seeing Good News in even the hardest of places. Seeing Good News and being aware of God’s presence is often passed over in the pursuit of superficial fixes to difficult situations. Becoming aware of God’s Presence doesn’t really mean that your life suddenly becomes easier or that the suffering of those you love immediately lessens. Honestly, I’m not always sure what it means, but I am discovering the importance of acknowledging that God is here, God is there, God is with us, God is with them, etc.
Spiritual practices like the Examen have helped Nicole and I to embrace the tension we felt (and continue to feel) around the miscarriage we experienced in 2010. We were in deep grief. There was nothing comforting about holding my wife who was experiencing contractions that wouldn’t lead to me holding my children. But we never felt that God wasn’t there with us–holding us in the midst of the darkest hours we have ever experienced. In some ways, we experienced God’s presence in a deeper and stronger way during those days than ever before or since.
The movements end with questions that I will leave you with after each blog. I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on them as you seek to become more aware of God’s presence in and all around you as well as in and all around everyone else.
1. Can we name places where God’s presence is particularly needed or particularly hard to see at this time?
2. Can we name other places where it is clearly visible?
Did you miss the first blog of the series? No worries. Just click here.