By Robert Halsey Pine
“…The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed…the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:20-37 NRSV).
How do you argue whether or not God exists? You don’t have to. You seek, feel and experience God or you don’t. On occasion I’ll tune in to a television biography of some popular personality. You listen as a story of ups and downs, failures and successes unfolds. They talk about how they made it through the challenges of the highs and the lows. Very seldom do you hear a person mention God’s role in their life. I’d like to hear the rest of the story. Have they ever come to know God in a personal way?
I was watching a TV news talk show the other night. The discussion was about school prayer, separation of church and state and related topics. The commentator kept putting down athletes that cross themselves before an important action and teammates that say prayers together before or during competition. Putting aside the politics of all of this, the issue for me is the lack of understanding by many of the possibility and need for an ongoing, minute by minute relationship with God.
Yes, we’d like to win the game, pass the test, make the shot or hit a home run. The idea, however, is to discipline our lives so that we stay close to Christ in everything we do. Any acts of piety that occur as a result of this effort are perfectly natural–if we are doing them not out of superstition or show, but out of a need to be closer to God, so that we might always do our best for Him. We should and must work things into our daily lives that remind us and help bring us closer to God.
We don’t have to become “pious freaks.” We can carry out all of the activities of our daily lives with that little light on in our minds; the light that reminds us that we must always be turned toward God. He’s right there with us anyway, so it’s a local call.
Heavenly Father, I pray today that You help me with my daily spiritual discipline, so that I may be nourished by Your inspiration and properly praise You for Your unconditional love and grace. In Christ’s name I pray. AMEN.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.