God of the Particular

July 30, 2022 THE MMA TEAM

I am listening to the birds composing their songs outside today. They seem to have their own sweet language.

I hear cars whiz by as well as the beeping of a work truck. Some carry sounds as stately as a trumpet,  others produce a more dense, growling sound resembling that of a trombone or tuba.

I long to hear the wind chimes nearby join in the symphony. I hear the leaves move across the faded gray driveway and those still green in hue rustling in the trees. A generous mix of movement and stillness no matter where I turn. I hear the recurring buzz of the ultrasonic stakes my husband has buried in the backyard to keep the moles at bay. I sometimes yearn to hear my children’s laughter along with the rest, but in this moment I just enjoy the soft refrain. A calm melody. Free of words but not any less free of meaning.

In my observing I cannot help but wonder if we often miss the particular in our attempts to connect with God, ourselves, and others. I wonder if we sometimes miss the reality that we each have a particular language and a particular story bound up in our heartache and desire.

Deeper connection results when we hold context in view. Context has carved out so much space in me these days. It’s moved me beyond my belief that the journey of faith is solely a linear experience- an experience that I once believed was defined by a predictable, easy to navigate progression that led me from point A to point B to point C. Faith, at that time, was simply a set of practices that mostly hinged on my “good” behaviors. Don’t mistake me, I do believe the choices we make are a part of the process of deepening faith, though I have since come to learn it’s not the whole of it.

Showing up as fully myself in relationship with God and others, remaining engaged and connected to the particular, has often been an under-nurtured part of the process for me. Yet, I am finding that in all of its messiness it is just as essential and no less sacred.

We are complex and layered creatures, made fully in the image of a God whose mystery is boundless. He lives in the very creation that calls to the grief in each of us and offers redemption.

He meets us in our fears and kindly speaks words that calm our overworked nervous systems. He resides in the silence of the wilderness and teaches us how to release the grip we have on our striving. He moves us beyond the limits of our frames and touches us in ways that bless our humanity.

May we find compassion for the wounded parts of ourselves that we are convinced we must tuck away in search of a more “solid” faith.

May we truly come to understand the inverted, upside-down nature of the Kingdom of God and fully give ourselves over to it, recognizing God in the tension of the moment, in the ordinariness of our lives, and in the grappling we so often resist.

He is God in and of the particular. 

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