A pastor tells about giving a sermon about the presence of Jesus at worship. The image suggested was to imagine that Jesus is walking around the worship space, sometimes sitting next to members, listening to every verbal and private prayer. The idea was that everyone in worship can experience the presence of Jesus in one way or another, at one time or another.
That Sunday, one member was having a particularly difficult time. It was difficult to concentrate at worship. Nothing seemed to help with the problems. The idea of Jesus walking around seemed silly and unhelpful. The member even thought, “I guess I’ll just have to wait to ‘experience Jesus’ some other time.”
But then a surprise happened! Near the end of worship, the pastor quoted some of the words of Jesus as part of the worship service. In that moment, in a way that had never happened before, the member felt surrounded by the grace, presence, and love of God. Time seemed to stop. Peace surrounded the member.
The member shared with the pastor that that single moment of worship powerfully remained for the next several weeks. The problems didn’t disappear. But in dealing with them, Christ was really present. “I knew,” the member said, “the love of God.”
We often say that we experience God when our minds and hearts are open. It’s also true that God’s love and grace can come to us, and be powerfully felt, when our minds and hearts are closed.
God shows no partiality. God loves the open-minded. God loves the closed-minded. God loves. Experiencing this love is always possible.
Followers of Jesus not only experience this love, but are also called to witness to that love. Followers of Jesus are called to be instruments, channels, and conduits where God’s love freely flows.
Believers are certainly not at their best when they judge others as closed-minded, even claiming that others are “missing out” on the love of God. We’re at our best when we let God’s love flow through us to others.
We’ve all experienced some closed-mindedness. But the more open we are, the more God’s love can flow.
Dearest God of love, I open my mind and heart to you. As you love me, let your love flow through me to others. Amen.