Spend some time together

Published 2:32 pm Friday, October 8, 2010

Monday morning, I had an appointment at 9 o’clock—and I missed it.

Slept right through it!

Somehow I turned off the alarm and went back to sleep without missing a beat. At least I think that is what happened—the alarm was definitely turned off, and I was certainly not awake when I should have been. And I was embarrassed—so embarrassed!—to call and confess why I was not where I should have been. But, hey, if a pro-golfer can over sleep and miss a tee time worth zillions of dollars, it can happen to the rest of us, right?

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Was it Woody Allen who said that “ninety percent of life is just showing up”?

That thought added greatly to my embarrassment on Monday. It is a simple concept, one we start early in teaching our children. As adults, we should remember that showing up has implications for our spiritual lives as well.

Today, as I write this, is a gorgeous day—perfect blue sky, leaves are still mostly green, the temperature is cool and crisp. It is one of those days when everyone seems to have a surge of energy and comments on how nice the day is, especially after our sizzling summer.

It is not hard on a day this beautiful to say thank you to God for all of God’s creation and gifts. That is part of spiritually showing up – acknowledging that God has given us this day to enjoy, and every day that we draw breath is God’s day. Just saying “thank you, God” is often the first step in enriching our spiritual lives.

Spiritual life is not simply a “Sunday” thing. Yes, we are commanded by God to keep a Sabbath for worship and for rest—a really good idea by the way. Our human bodies and minds are not built to work non-stop for months and months on end. But if we choose only to show up for one hour on Sunday morning, we are missing the “life” part of spirituality.

As a friend used to say to me, “Stopping by on Sunday morning is just taking your temperature. No preachin’ is good enough to last six more days!”

Just listening to one of us preachers for an hour on Sunday, without doing anything else for your spiritual health all week, is apt to produce a serious case of spiritual indigestion!

Preachers attempt to pack sermons full of as much as possible in the hope of having something for everyone listening, in faith that God is using the words we have put together for the nourishment of someone besides ourselves. But sermons should be well chewed by the listener, and tested by one’s own reading and prayers before being swallowed.

God is interested in our Mondays and our Fridays just as much as our Sundays.

Our spiritual life is integral to our physical and mental life and balance.

Prayer is necessary for me if I am going to be shaped by God—listening prayer and talking prayer. Reading Scripture and devotional materials should be as habitual as checking our e-mail or Facebook pages. Relationships grow and are sustained by shared experiences and stories. God offers us stories in Scripture and the world around us to open the lines of communication between us. That is how we grow spiritually.

Most of us are not able and would not choose to live a cloistered, contemplative life. We work in a busy, noisy world where things do not always go right.

Some days it seems that nothing goes right! But God is there, too—by the patients’ bedsides, facing us across the tables, traveling down the roads with us. After all, God is where we come from and where we are going. Maybe if would be a good idea to spend some time together along the way.