Surprised by the Presence

“Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this place.  I can feel God’s mighty power, and God’s grace.”  

These words to a familiar meditation song echo several incidents in the Hebrew scriptures.  When Jacob awoke from his dream of a ladder connecting earth to heaven, and when Moses beheld a bush that burned but was not consumed, each felt himself to be on holy ground, deeply aware of a divine Presence.


Neither Jacob nor Moses was seeking a spiritual experience at the time.  Both, in fact, were fugitives, hiding from the consequences of previous choices.  And they were not in temples, cathedrals, or other appropriately awesome locations.  One was sleeping in the open, with his head on a stone.  The other was in the midst of a normal workday, herding sheep.


It is often so with us, as well.  As we live our lives, we can suddenly become aware of the Presence of Spirit.  How?  The meditation song suggests two possibilities.  We might feel our lives suddenly infused with a great and mighty Power.  Or we might experience the quiet peace of divine Grace.  This second possibility is no less astonishing for its gentle Presence.  A simple falling into place, a sense of simplicity and ease where we had seen only challenge and confusion – this sense of graceful rightness can be as overwhelming as a dramatic burning bush could ever be.


Wherever I find myself today, I will remember to pause and affirm, “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this place.”  I will then behold and appreciate the quiet grace with which the day unfolds, and I will say ‘Thank you, God!’


View more Reflections in the Archive!