Simeon has a camel that he loves. It is a furry one that was once stuffed with filling before he proceeded to disembowel it. But he continues to play with it; the camel is his favorite toy. It has lasted a long time for a cloth toy as it is going on somewhere over 2 years now since I gave it to him out of my camel collection.
One of his favorite activities is to bring it to us expecting us to throw it. Often it is covered in, well he has been chewing on it for some time before bringing it so you can use your own imagination. He lays it in our lap and watches us expectantly for the toss, intent on our response. One might liken it to a prayer as he lays his offering in my lap and the look on his face prays, “Play?”
Studies have suggested that dogs are sight and sound stimulated. In other words they are great at out of sight out of mind. Part of me hopes that while I am away at work he thinks of me during the day. But from what I have read the truth is probably “out of sight out of mind.” He probably doesn’t think a lot about me until he hears the truck pull in the driveway. His “prayers,” if you will are focused on his immediate need and his awareness is determined by his ability to “see” that which is providing his need at the time.
I am pondering this morning, or perhaps in the light of the upcoming New Fall Sermon Series of “Be Faith,” and the first sermon on “Be Connected, Prayer and Contemplation” I should say I am contemplating this morning. In terms of my friend Simeon our “seeing” or “thinking” about God in bodily form “reaching down,” for lack of a better descriptor and intervening, or waiting to be “called upon” can be problematic for how we understand the image of God let alone our understanding of prayer.
One of the hindrances for many when considering the image of God is the continued thought and image of an anthropomorphic God who is up there, out there, over there, somewhere disconnected from creation, creature, and humanity who must be called upon, or down, or over, in order to act and then intervene. We need to move to an understanding of God as truly Presence, Spirit, like being immersed in a great ocean of the Spirit, everything, everyone buoyed in the Spirit in whom we live and move and have our being, within and without. A Spirit of Presence who is not only other, but simply “is.” A Spirit that connects us together so that when we are aware and mindful every act, every thought, every word, and movement is a prayer, is a part of God, and participates with that Spirit in and where the Spirit is already at work; creating, embracing, speaking, loving, and present in and through us. A Spirit who permeates all, understood in many ways, but the same Spirit, the same God, the same Divine Presence. A constant reminder we are all in this together, we are all responsible for creation, and as Mother Teresa said, “We all belong to one another.”
I will continue to trust that Simeon is awake to my presence when I am there and probably not so much when I am not. I will continue to practice mindfulness and awakening to the presence of the Spirit in whom I know we all exist within like the very air we breathe.
It is one of the many ways we seek to be faithful to the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the family. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table. Not Your Ordinary Church.
Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.