God is Present to Us
1. Story: woman, cancer, pain. Why is this happening to me? head question: heart answer. What she asked was not what she really wanted, really needed. Wanted his presence. Wanted to know his love through his presence.
God is present with us. This presence does not answer our questions, but it answers the need of our heart. It is the presence which is part of a loving parent-child relationship. God is a joyous, relaxing presence. A person who changes the atmosphere.
2. Story: Tibetan monk, hospital, attitude to woman patient.
God is our peace. We gain peace from knowing how deeply we are loved, held, welcomed, received. We need not be afraid. And God wants us to live from love, not fear. God gives us room to be ourselves, and room to grow.
Held in this peace, we may be assailed, but we do not need to be undermined. There are practical things we can do to discover and retain peace. Keep the word. Pray honestly. Let praise arise.
3. Story: Donald Eadie - Prayer as letting the sap rise. The "sap" of our life is praise. Always and everywhere (MSB). God enables us to praise, always and everywhere. There are times when our praise must arise through our silence, confusion, pain. But let it arise, because it is praise which belongs to God, but also transforms us, heals the world.
God loves us and makes his home with us. This love is the source of our life because it is the kind of love which wants to be at home with us in every respect, intimate, familiar, involved, engaged, relaxed, accepting, understanding, forgiving.
The love of God is all very well, but it isn't cuddly. (Chris McKirdy, Hall Green MC)