Vol 1:32 Called to be Present in the World

Roxburgh and Boren state that the first practice in the church demonstrating that they are sign, foretaste, and instrument of God’s present and coming reign is the practice of presence (p. 108).

The gist of this practice is that it “highlights the specific things that mark God’s people as those who relate to him in a contrasting way” (p. 108).

As I reflect on presence, I believe that practicing presence is about how those of us who identify ourselves as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ are incarnational in the world – it is about how we live in the world. It is about how we go about in all we do making the presence of God visible in the world. These are not meant to be hidden practices, practices kept for the few behind closed doors; no these practices are meant to be lived out in the presence of those whom we want to reveal the presence of God active in the world, redeeming the world, making all things new.

The unique thing about the God who is I AM is that God desires to reveal himself through those whom God has called and sent. God uses people to reveal himself. God became a human being to reveal himself. God who cannot be fully comprehended by our finite minds, reveals himself through finite human beings.

And so, it is in our living, we either practice the presence of God, or we are practicing the presence of self. We often make life about ourselves, making a name for ourselves, developing a reputation, a pedigree – I am guilty of this myself. We seek and strive to be somebody in this world – and many of us are indeed successful at this.

But if we confess that we are followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, who do people see when they look at us? Do they only see us, or is somehow Christ made visible in and through us, our actions? Is God made visible through the way we live life in relation to others? Are we revealing God who seeks to set humanity free, or are we revealing ourselves, where often we seek to set ourselves free at the cost of others?

Reflecting on the practice of presence, reminds me that my passion in life is not to make a name for Roland Kuhl, but to participate with others to make a name for God, to reveal God. This is what Jesus came to do – “those who believe in me do not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When they look at me, they see the one who sent me” (John 12: 44-45). Paul also expressed, what expresses my desire as well: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

In seeking to live a life that relates to the God of Creation, the God of the Universe, the one who is I AM, I need to be continually reminded that I am called to live my life in such a way, practicing the presence of God, through worship, through engaging God’s Story and Vision in Scripture, through connecting and listening to God, keeping my life open to God, being available to God for what God desires to do in and through me.

For me, this is not a diminishing of who I am, or what I will be, or the gifts and talents that are in my life – living in the presence of God enables me to discover fully who I was created to be – and only in the presence of God, magnifying God, revealing God, do I deeply discover who I am. I become fully human as I live practicing the presence of God – I do not wish to be marked in any other way, except to be known as a person who is known by God and is growing in knowing God – a God who is “mysterious, wild, [and] relational” (p. 109).

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