I visited one of our homebound members today. She was not sure of who I was, even though we have visited several times, but I have learned that that is not really all that important. We seem to always end our visits in a similar fashion. I ask her if she would like me to read to her from the Bible, and she always says yes. The requests of what she wants to hear differ – today she wanted to hear “the eights.” It took a little probing, a little guesswork, and a quick “please God let this be it” and I opened my Bible and began to read the end of Romans 8. As I read, she began to recite with me from memory. Almost the whole thing. And then she asked for the 23rd Psalm, and again recited it with me. It was one of those moments when you can feel God right there, tangible in the room. The closest I can come to describing it is that the room becomes a thin place for just a few moments — we were on Holy Ground.
Several hours later, I was in a different kind of Holy space. Our youth gathered for their time together after dinner to pray together over 2 prayer shawls from the prayer shawl ministry. One was for one of their friends who is going to the hospital, the other for her family while she is there. As they passed the shawls around the circle, silently praying, you could have heard a pin drop on the carpet. They were taking this seriously, holding them, running their fingers over the stitches, reading the cards attached to them, gently handing them from one person to the next. What I thought would take 5 minutes took almost 10 – they sat in near silent prayer for 10 minutes in the presence of God. Yes, a few cracked their knuckles, and I’m sure some of them were daydreaming –we are talking about teenage humans after all — but for a time, we were in the presence of God.
I did not wake up this morning thinking “today I am going to participate in 2 separate Holy Moments.” Every day has holy moments and I think sometimes we just forget to notice them. I wonder if perhaps I stumbled into my Lenten discipline — to notice the holy moments in each day, no matter how small. Maybe I could be formal and call it a Practice of Intentional Observation or something like that, but I think not. For Lent this year, I am going to notice the small Holy moments I otherwise neglect to pay attention to most days. To find spaces and times to be in the presence of God, be quiet, and pay attention.