When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3. 4 (NRSV)
Over the last year, I have become a fan and follower of author Brian McLaren. It started last year when I learned that this Evangelical Christian had presided at the wedding of his gay son. Then, I had the opportunity to be part of a workshop last May at which he offered an amazing interpretation of the Book of Acts. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to read several of his works, and most recently I have been reading his book, Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words, which is the subject of a weekly study with others in which I am participating.
Now, let me just say, I have been a pastor for nearly 20 years, and before that I was a very active layperson. Like many of you, my life with God has been an on and off affair, and by that I mean that I have struggled to maintain a faithful prayer life in the midst of a busy life! Now, I’m discovering that, even though I have more control over my schedule, it is still difficult to maintain a faithful prayer and devotional life. That is, until I started reading this book about naked spirituality.
In the book, McLaren invites us to set aside all of the trappings of faith that we have added. He invites us to enter into a simpler way of engaging God, or as he takes from our Jewish sisters and brothers, “G-d”, as a way of honoring the name of G-d.
Our group has just started the book, but I am already deeply touched by McLaren’s invitation to begin your day, and practice throughout your day the simple prayer of “Here.” The prayer, “Here I am. Here You are. Here we are together,” is means of being present to G-d, wherever you are.
I practiced this prayer, intended to serve as a means to awaken us to the presence of G-d, yesterday morning as I was taking a morning walk and, once again, in the silence of the night when I couldn’t sleep. Even now as I type the word “here,” I feel something moving with in me that is an awareness of the presence of G-d.
Of course, as is his practice, McLaren comes to this prayer by way of scripture. While there are many instances of people in the Bible responding to G-d with “Here I am,” perhaps the most famous is that of Moses who encounters G-d in a shrub that was burning but not consumed. When Moses hears G-d call to him from within the bush, Moses answers, “Here I am.”
It just makes me wonder. If you and I were to regularly awaken to the presence of God in all our living, perhaps we, too, would hear G-d call to us from unexpected places. It’s worth a try, don’t you think?
Here I am. Here You are. Here we are together. Amen.