If someone asked you to give them another word for ‘God’ you could use the word ‘presence’ for that is what God is. When Moses asked Yahweh his name, Yahweh replied ‘I am who I am’ and this means ‘I am present.’ God is really saying ‘I shall be there for you.’ God is intimately present to everything, and especially to us. Jesus’ name is Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’. Matthews Gospel ends with the marvelous statement ‘Know that I am with you always, yes, to the end of time.’
I believe that our souls long for your presence Lord. Think about the last 24 hours in your life – was there joy or despair? Was there purpose or was there boredom? Was there a particular conversation with someone or an argument? Was there confidence or was there real challenge? Has it been life-giving or life-draining? What stands out for you as the most significant thing that has happened to you in the last 24 hours? God has been there. Were you conscious of His presence?
In Matthew’s Gospel there is a parable about a landowner going out into the market place and hiring people to work in his vineyard. He goes out in the early morning and hires those waiting for work; he does the same at 9.00 and then again at noon, and then 3.00, and finally he hires more at 5.00 in the afternoon. He asks those standing idle all day why they are there, “because no one has employed us” they reply. This parable describes a joyless world of work, where people were engaged for one day, or even for one hour. There is no joy in their work, only heaviness, and insecurity, which produces anger and tensions.
In our world too, more and more people find no joy in their work, but only anxiety and hardship. Are you aware of God’s presence in every aspect of your life? Do you talk to Jesus as if he were in the room with you? What would you say? And what would He say to you? In a moment of quiet, consider that conversation with Jesus. Share your thoughts with him and listen for His reply.
Might this be your prayer each day in the coming week? Dear Lord, help us always to be aware of your presence in every experience of our lives, the essential things, and the mundane. The joyous and despairing, the life-giving and the life draining.