Vol 1:13 Visioning and the Mission of God (Part 2: Noticing what God is doing)

The questions that were raised about visioning last week were: Since we are called to participate with God in God’s mission, how do we go about discovering or discerning what God is doing so that we can join in? And, of all that God is doing, what part of that involves us? How do we know what we are to be doing as the people of God?

Last week we explored seeing what God sees so that we might develop a sensitivity to what touches the heart of God – rather than our living in such a way that is merely focused upon our accomplishing our own purposes. This week, our focus moves beyond what God sees to noticing what God is doing, what God is engaged in within our contexts.

Noticing what God is doing is developing eyes and ears for where God is engaged. Repeatedly in John’s Gospel Jesus relates that he speaks what he hears his Father speaking and does what he sees his Father doing (cf. John 12: 49; 5: 19). How did Jesus hear what God the Father was saying and see what God the Father was doing?

I believe what we learn from Jesus is that noticing what God is doing involves living in a different rhythm than what has become “normal” in our world. Normal has come to mean living in ways which are frenetic in which we barely have time to notice anything except that which we are focused on doing – because it is demanded of us by an expectation of another or ourselves. And so we race around like rats, running helter skelter, here, there, seemingly accomplishing much, but sensing deep within ourselves it has little lasting value.

I don’t get that sense from Jesus – from reading the Gospels, he seemed to walk with purpose, a way of living that was attuned to a different rhythm. He took time to be distracted by people, by questions, by situations, by conversations – and yet, these asides were not tangential to what he came to do or who he was among us. Mark 1: 35 presents us with a clue as to how Jesus lived attuned to a different rhythm.

When Jesus awoke in the morning, he took the time to breathe in the Spirit of God, he took time to align his life to the purposes of his Father in heaven, he took the time to pray, to yield up his agendas, his anxieties, his deadlines, his “to do” list, himself, in order to open himself to living in a rhythm directed by the Spirit of God.

And then he lived into his day. And as he went from here to there, he encountered people – and the impression he gave those he encountered was that their encountering was by divine appointment. And as he went, he was questioned – and the impression he gave those who questioned him, that this was an opportunity to speak a word of truth, of life. As he went he sensed his living was directed by the Spirit of God. And through this openness to the Spirit of God, he became aware of what God was speaking in a certain situation – and he spoke those words; and through this openness the Spirit of God, he became aware of what God was doing – and he joined in with God in touching a leper or healing one who was blind or setting a child free from demonic forces.

Likewise, when we take the time to live prayerfully – breathing in the Spirit of God, surrendering our agendas to the Spirit, yielding our purposes and goals to God, giving of ourselves to walk through our day yoked together with Christ (cf. Matthew 11:29), we not only begin to live attuned to a different rhythm – regarding distractions as divine encounters, whatever situations we encounter as our being led there by the Spirit, we also become more sensitive and aware of the words God is speaking in that encounter or situation, which we then have the opportunity to speak as well, or the actions God is doing in which we join in to bring life and healing into broken lives and places.

I believe as we live lives which are open to the Spirit of God, the Spirit will enable us to see more clearly what God is doing all around us and enable us to speak the words of God into the lives of others.

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