As we launch or continue our journey of faith, are we called to look for signs of God’s presence or are we called to be a sign of God’s presence? The answer, as you might expect, is yes! We are the ones who are trying to be tuned into God’s wavelength, listening to God’s broadcast. Therefore, we look for the signs that God is at work in and around us always. One of the things we do when we gather for worship and for fellowship is to celebrate those signs and share them with one another. Is there space in your worship for folks to share “God-sightings” within the body? Or might we call for such sightings ahead of time, on social media perhaps or in small groups within the church. We are encouraging one another to be alert to the movement and activity of God in our lives.
Let our prayer time not just call for God to act around us, but to give thanks for the activity that is already happening. We draw one another’s attention to how God is at work. What we can sometimes find is that we are often better at seeing God at work in the lives of those around us than we are at seeing the same in our own lives. That’s why we need the community to direct our attention. As we celebrate the ministry of those in our congregation, we can tell them how God was seen in their words and deeds, in their caring and loving. Share that with one another this week.
But we can also avoid the tendency to look inward only to see God at work. We might be surprised by where and from whom we encounter God’s presence when we open our eyes to what is around us. It is a reminder that we don’t have an exclusive hold on the grace and love of God. The Spirit is not within our control. But we can observe its passing through the lives that are changed, the moments that are blessed. How do we tell those stories in our worship this week?
We are more than passive observers, however. We are active presenters, active signs of God’s presence in the world. We commit ourselves again this week at worship to presenting the goodness of God in the world around us. We do that best by how we care. We care for one another and seek reconciliation whenever possible. We care for God’s people everywhere by giving and helping and loving. We care for the planet by adjusting our lifestyle to minimize our negative impact on the environment. We care for the whole family of God by advocating for a just distribution of the resources that God has given for our use and by standing with those who have been pushed to the margins of our society and with young men of color who are part of a mass incarceration. We care and are called to care as a way of being a sign of God’s care for creation. What is the sign? It is us.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.