Our Calling – practising the presence of God

This morning, as part of our current series on “Calling” Heston shared with us about “practising the presence of God”. Here are some notes from Heston’s talk:

We seek to live in an atmosphere of praise and prayer. We aim to be constantly aware of God’s presence, so that we may indeed pray without ceasing. Our ever-deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy. It is Christ’s love that inspires us to service, and strengthens us for sacrifice.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I said to the almond tree, ‘Sister, speak to me of God.’ And the almond tree blossomed. – Nikos Kazantzakis

A prayer of St Anselm
Now, my whole heart, say to God:
‘I seek your face; your face, O Lord, do I seek.’
I will seek you by desiring you,
and desire you in seeking you.
I will find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.

The holiest and most necessary practice in the spiritual life is that of the presence of God. It consists in taking delight in and becoming accustomed to God’s divine company, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with God all the time, at every moment, without rule or measure. We must continually apply ourselves so that all our actions become a kind of brief conversation with God, not in a contrived manner, but coming from the purity and simplicity of our hearts. — Brother Lawrence

Spirit of God, come afresh on us…
Open our eyes, that we may recognise you walking with us;
Open our ears and our minds, that we may hear your word;
Open our hearts, that your love may flow through us
and bring the blessing of new life to all we meet;
For you are the God who makes all things new,
and surprises us into understanding.
Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours for ever and ever. Amen.

Practising God’s presence in beauty

The world is charged with the grandeur of God – Gerard Manley Hopkins

Practising God’s presence in the desires of our hearts- opening our lives to God’s grace

Song Purify my heart

Practising God’s presence in self-giving

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45

Jesus calls those who would serve him to follow his example and choose for themselves the same path of renunciation and sacrifice. To those who hear and obey, he promises union with God.

Song Brother sister let me serve you

Practising God’s presence in our daily work (calling)

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
— Matthew 5:13-16

Song Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee

Practising God’s presence in prayer and silence

A prayer of St Anselm
Come now, little child.
Turn awhile from your daily work;
hide yourself for a little time from your
restless thoughts,
cast away your wearisome distractions.
Give yourself a little leisure to talk with God,
and rest awhile in him.
Enter the secret chamber of your heart,
shutting out everything but God,
and that which may help you in seeking him.
And when you close the door, seek him.
Now, my whole heart, say to God:
‘I seek your face;
your face, O Lord, do I seek.’
I will seek you by desiring you,
and desire you in seeking you.
I will find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.
I praise and give thanks to you
that you have made me in your image,
so that I can remember you,
think of you, love you.

Practising God’s presence in bread and wine (on Sundays) and fellowship (every day)

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. –– C.S. Lewis

Like it or not, heaven is other people.
Did you think it was God?
You are right; but it is God in people, just as it is God in you.
— John V. Taylor

Closing songJesus Christ is waiting in the streets

Heston challenged us to spend at least a minute a day in silence, listening and waiting in God’s presence.

Heston recommends reading ‘An Altar in the World’ by Barbara Brown Taylor

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