14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. 16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. 17 The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing 18 as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. 19 I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. 20 At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.
Zephaniah 3: 14-20
How different would our world be if each and everyone of us lived in the full understanding that God is in our midst ? With all of the strife and struggle of our everyday lives, it can seem that there is no time to get everything done much less make room for God. And yet without the knowledge of the power and presence of God, our lives seem chaotic and out of control.
Why do we distance ourselves from God in our thoughts, words and deeds instead of making God our partner in all things? The illusions of this world lead us to believe that we are the authors of our own lives. There are so many distractions to shift our attention away from God. We have been blessed with dominion over our lives but that is different than being a first cause. The gift of dominion is always given in the context of the overarching Principle of God. We have the ability to choose to look for and to see God in our midst or not.
Our God is not a king by fiat. God seeks to inspire us, not force us, to fulfill our divine potential. We are given guidelines and guidance but we are also given free will and choices. Each step of the way we have the choice to look to God or look to ourselves for answers. God’s voice is constant but in the noise and bustle of everyday life that voice can seem quiet and distant.
There is no obstacle that we cannot overcome. But we cannot do it on our own. When we try we become fearful. All of the misguided, selfish and cruel things that we do originate from a place of fear. We are afraid that there will not be enough. Or we believe that we are not enough. With God at our side what do we need to fear? Keeping the presence of God frees our minds and hearts from the shackles of fear to love one another, ourselves and God.
We need only turn to God in humility. The lame and outcast are empty vessels receptive to God’s blessings. When we think that we can do things of our own accord, we do not leave space for Spirit to perform It’s work in our lives. The power and presence of the Christ within is always guiding us to open our hearts and minds to the current of Divine energy in which we live, move and have our being. When we do there is a “wind at our back,” clearing our path forward.
In this season of anticipating and celebrating the birth of the Christ, we are reminded that God in Love gave us Jesus the Christ as a manifestation of Divine Immanence. God is with us in the thick of it all. The life of Jesus reminds us that God is present with us as our parent, our friend, our comforter, our partner in all things.
When we truly understand the intimacy and constancy of our relationship with the Divine we can truly rejoice because the burden is light and our fortunes will always be restored .
We are never alone in the world. God in Christ is our partner and constant companion.
A prayer for this day:
“Lord God Almighty, You have brought us safely to the beginning of this day. Defend us today by Your mighty power, so that we may not fall into any sin, and that all our words may so proceed and all our thoughts and actions be so directed as to be always just in your sight.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
from Catholic Prayer Book, Unknown Author
Pamela J. Thomas (M. Div., 2007)
Author, speaker, entrepreneur and advisor
Glen Allen, VA