During a previous Friday discussion group, we were talking about how we can encourage one another. One of the key points that came out was how important it is to listen to each other as a form of encouragement. Along the lines that God gave us two ears and one mouth, and it is appropriate at times to listen twice as much as we speak. My wife, who is a psychologist, has commented if more people could listen well, she would be out of a job.
In Henry Blackaby’s teaching on Experiencing God, one of the key points is that God is speaking, so are we listening? The second part is, that God is always active, so where do you see Him in action? Are we noticing Him at all, or are we missing so much?
It started me thinking that to truly follow our God we must be multi-sensory in our approach and use all our senses. This takes me beyond just thinking. It occurred to me that I often use a variety of senses in my Christian walk. The senses of seeing and hearing are obvious in most church services, but what about seeing and hearing the presence and the whisper of God outside a service?
I suppose I became a little more aware of this after my daughter returned from her travels through Europe and the UK. She brought this little prayer card for me from the Celtic Abby of Iona on the Ilse of Mull on the west coast of Scotland. I have spent time meditating on it. Here are the words:
Deep peace of the running waves to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
The Celts were able to relate to sensing much of the handiwork of God through His creation, as was King David in Psalm 19 which says:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. (Psalm 19:1-4)
I live near a beach and as I walk the dog, I hear the running waves and gentle wind in the trees. I feel the touch of the flowing air as I walk along the beachfront, and I understand I am in the presence of All Mighty God. Because we live close to the beach and away from the city, the sky is dark without too much city-light spillage. This means I can sit and appreciate the visual splendour of the night sky or the beauty of a beautiful sunrise and appreciate my Creator King.
I have spent several Christmas Eves with my family in the Cathedral of St Patrick, Auckland, for midnight mass. The smell of incense will always take me back to the celebration of Jesus birth in such richness and reverence. I must at a certain level admit I can almost taste the incense as I remember it.
The Holy Spirit keeps growing my experience. Recently I was reading a theological piece, and it described the tree of righteousness as a mighty oak. There is a very large American Oak in the neighbour’s property which hangs over the fence. I will never again be able to look at that tree without thinking of the tree of righteousness and God’s goodness.
Ask God to expand your sensory experience and worship. It could give you a richness and depth you may not have yet experienced. It has for me!