We don’t have to be, but are

Rev. Matt Rawle often finds God's presence in the ordinary, like mowing his backyard. Photo in the Public Domain.
Rev. Matt Rawle often finds God's presence in the ordinary, like mowing his backyard. Photo in the Public Domain.

Our current worship series at The Well, “Sherlock’s Home: Observing God in the Everyday” is to point us toward finding God’s presence in what we typically might view as mundane, ordinary, and unimportant. Just yesterday I had the opportunity (some opportunity, right?) to mow our backyard.

It is no secret that I love to do anything other than lawn care. To say that I am an outdoorsman would be a lie. When I muster the mood to mow I usually grab my phone and headphones and listen to Rage Against the Machine (it seems to help me push the mower just a bit more quickly). In thinking about observing God in the everyday, I left the headphones inside, and made a point of listening to the natural symphony God has already provided.

I found a profound moment. Now, the sounds I heard weren’t particularly beautiful. Some birds were chirping, the wind was rustling pine branches, and my children were yelling about something or other. The mower drowned out most of what I had hoped to hear from the woods beyond the backyard fence. It wasn’t that I left the backyard in awe of nature or that I had a moving experience that God was somehow directing in what order I mowed the overgrown grass; rather I paused to give thanks that I could hear anything at all.

Sometimes we overlook God’s gifts because they are always around us. We could live perfectly well without the ability to hear music or traffic or a baby’s coo (though if music ceased to be, I’m not sure why one would want to be alive). We don’t need to hear, but sound exists anyway. The same could be true of color. There is little point in being able to distinguish blue from purple, and yet the rainbow appears anyway, as far as our eyes can tell. The same could also be said of us. The earth would spin just fine without us, yet here we are!

The fact that we don’t have “to be,” and yet are, points us to God’s heart. We walk upon the earth among the sounds and colors and textures of the world because God desires for us to be. We are not here to serve God. We are here to love God and neighbor, and be loved by God and neighbor. Certainly service is one of the ways in which we express our love of God, but it is love that directs our actions, not a divine “to do list.” In what ways have you shared God’s love today? How have you seen God at work in the unexpected?

Who would have thought that mowing the lawn could be so profound?

MR

Matt Rawle is lead pastor at The Well UMC and author of the Pop in Culture series through Abingdon Press. Find out more at www.MattRawle.com.

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