It’s springtime. Already the show-off wattles have reverted to their familiar dull green and now bottlebrush bushes are painting brilliant red patches here and there on our rocky half acre plot. As I twist my car around a bend close to home I catch a glimpse of a flowering gum, its deep pink blossom head and shoulders above the surrounding everyday eucalypts. Our God is not afraid of colour.
The ‘Synod fathers’, those cardinals and bishops who have just spent three weeks talking about we family people, looked quite colourful themselves in their splashy reds and purples. The results of their deliberations may not be quite so colourful, but there was one surprising phrase that popped up amongst all the’ church-speak’ –God meets you where you are.
I felt almost light-headed when I read that. If you have been reading Tarella Spirituality for a while you might have picked up that God comes to you disguised as your life is one of my favourite sayings. Nobody has to go looking for God, learn a special language, find a church open to kneel in or study theology. God meets each one of us right where we are.
It sounds too easy, maybe not quite right. Cradle Catholic like me always look for the catch, convinced that we don’t deserve God’s friend-like attention. It was only when I began saying God meets me where I am, and God comes to me disguised as my life , and saying it often enough, that I could let go of my perception that only saints, the ones with haloes, could have a unique, on-going God relationship.
Practically speaking that means that right now God comes to me in the colours and warmth of spring, in the weeds that grow 30 cms high in a week, in a magpie that seems to have adopted us (or is the cat’s food the drawcard), in the need to get Council permission to burn the tree litter that has accumulated over the winter. Such ordinary, everyday spring things and they are the matter of my life and in them I hear God’s voice.
But relationship with God is never static, always encouraging, inviting us to become the person that God has dreamt we could be. Recently I read this sentence: We come from God, and we return to God, and everything in between is either a lesson, a seduction or an invitation. It’s relatively easy to understand God’s voice in a spring landscape, not quite so easy to trust the whisper of seduction or a dreamlike invitation in what would seem to be perfectly ordinary experiences. It’s only when we quieten the chatter inside our heads that we are able to hear the small quiet voice of God.
And who knows where that might lead us?