Elevating the mundane to the inspirational
MANY people yearn to experience the presence and power of God. But much of what people have to do seems so totally material, so far removed from God. It may seem impossible to feel God's presence in the midst of a busy day. Christ Jesus taught that God is always present. Therefore we can begin to feel His nearness and power even in the midst of the most common activities of daily life. Whether we're mining coal, doing odd jobs around the house, negotiating a sale, or irrigating a field, we can begin to understand that God is present and see His nature expressed in His creation, man. This elevates the mundane to the inspirational.
Once I was trying to get some work done on my house. I had been given a date when the work would be accomplished. When it became long overdue I stopped by the store to talk to the salesman. He didn't apologize for the delay. Nor did he promise to do the work soon.
I felt perfectly justified in being impatient, self-righteous, angry. But I had been striving to feel God's presence more consistently, even in small things. So I turned to God -- not asking Him to do something for me or to control this salesman but asking Him what I needed to know, asking Him to show me His presence and His will for all.
As I listened, I began to realize that in order to feel God's presence I needed to replace anger, self-righteousness, and so forth with God-derived qualities, which Christ Jesus taught are natural for us to express -- qualities such as love, patience, peace, and forgiveness. This was far more important than getting the job done at home.
I remembered a Bible account of two brothers. Jacob was reunited with his brother Esau after many years of estrangement. Jacob said to Esau, ``I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.''1
I began to realize that I was in that store to see this salesman as my brother, to see him ``as though I had seen the face of God.'' Of course, God does not have a material face. What this Bible verse meant to me was that I could look beyond the outward appearance and discern the man created by God, who must be made up of the same spiritual qualities and characteristics as his creator. Because God is divine Spirit, His creation, man, must really be spiritual. Because God is good, man must really be good. I could see God's goodness manifested in His creation, or see ``the face of God,'' as Jacob put it. As the salesman and I continued to talk, I tried to see God's spiritual qualities being expressed through both of us, right then and there. Finally I felt at peace. I genuinely felt the presence of God and knew that everything was under His control. I was ready to leave the store and not worry about the outcome.
The salesman excused himself for a minute. When he came back he said that he really regretted not getting work done on time, and that instead of one of his crews doing the job, he and his brother would do the work themselves some evening after the store was closed. They did the job within a week, and it was well done.
The lesson I learned from this experience has nothing to do with getting a job done or dealing with a salesperson. In the Christian Science textbook the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ``It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.''2
I learned that no matter what we are doing, no matter how ordinary the activity may appear to be, we can use that experience to understand God better, to feel His presence. This elevates any experience to an inspiring moment in which the presence of God is deeply felt and can bless all.
1Genesis 33:10. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 390. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Job 32:8