Noticing the Fullness (September 27, 2012)

…Opening To…

The glory of God is the human being fully alive. (St. Irenaeus)

…Listening In…

Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted.When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves that had been left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:11-13; context)

…Filling Up…

Whenever we feel fully alive, God’s presence is not far away. In fact, it is so near us that we might have trouble recognizing it for what it is, like when you see a super magnified picture of a button or a bit of Velcro, but can’t readily identify either. (One of the question types in the game Cranium is about that, I think.)

If we believe that God is the foundation for all fullness of life, then it just makes sense to start looking for God whenever we feel fully alive. If you feel fully alive after the hike up the mountain, then, when you’ve paused at the peak to look at the patchwork valley, remember to give thanks to God for the opportunity to hike and the breathtaking view. If you feel fully alive after holding the newborn baby, give thanks to God for each piggy little toe and for the indescribable scent of the top of the infant’s head – the scent of new life.

Notice that the best way to invite God into the fullness that God created in the first place is to give thanks for it. When we offer our thanksgiving to God, we not only show our appreciation for these full moments of life, we also put ourselves in proper relationship with God. The act of thanksgiving reminds us that we didn’t create the fullness. We merely participated in it. We are on the field playing the game, but God created the field, invented the equipment, and made up the game, as well.

When Jesus feeds the five thousand people, he give thanks before breaking the meager offering of bread. This act of giving thanks is the key to the story. By giving thanks, Jesus acknowledged God’s presence in that gathering. Then Jesus proceeds to give the bread and give it some more and give it even more until everyone there was full. Thanksgiving opens our eyes to God moving when we feel fully alive.

And this trains us to notice God when we don’t. More on that tomorrow.

…Praying For…

Dear God, source of all life, you instill in me the desire to thank you for every gift you have given to me, including all the moments when I feel your fullness. Help me always to offer those moments back to you with gratitude. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, rejoicing that you constantly yearn to draw me more deeply and more fully into life.

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