The Practice of Presence
“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?”
Our stewardship focus this month in worship is on the promises we make when we join or belong to a faith community. Those promises including upholding the church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. This past weekend we focused on the difference our presence makes in, with and as an extension of our faith community.
Presence is an invitation to be led by the teachings of Jesus and be present with and for God inside and outside the walls of the church. Presence can mean coming alongside other people and supporting them on their journey of life and faith, knowing that together we divide our sorrows and multiply our joys. Presence can mean just showing up to be alongside others in times of need. Presence can also mean paying attention and noticing the everyday beauty of God’s creation.
In her book An Altar in the World, author Barbara Brown Taylor has a chapter about being present by paying attention. One of the practices of presence that she offers is to be outside in God’s creation. She says to simply “sit down somewhere outside, preferably near a body of water, and pay attention for at least twenty minutes. It is not necessary to take on the whole world at first. Just take the three square feet of earth on which you are sitting, paying close attention to everything that lives within that small estate.”
We can also do this exercise of paying attention by sitting inside and looking out a window and simply taking in the details of God’s creation. The beautiful season of Fall is a wonderful time to pay attention and be present to the tapestry of color that is happening outside.
Being present is giving ourselves to the moment or to what is right in front of us and around us. I invite us to intentionally practice being present this week and see what happens.