Rev. Caroline Noll, Associate Pastor

Can you feel God loving you? What does it feel like?

Sometimes we ask our children this in Sunday School after a prayer practice and a few moments of silence.

I love holding their responses in sacred space.

I love naming the belief that yes, we can experience God here and now, just like people in the Bible long ago.

What helps you meet God and know God’s presence?

It is summertime, and sometimes our minds go to church camp, mission trips and retreats.

Those are formation experiences for sure.

But what about in-between, during your regular week?

I wonder where you meet God in your daily life?

One that is new for me is poetry.

Now I am imagining that once you read that word poetry, you did one of two things.

Either you thought, “Really? Tell me more.”

Or, and in my imagination perhaps more likely, you tuned out, or made a face as if I mentioned your least favorite childhood vegetable.

Was it broccoli? Brussels sprouts?

Did you make the face? I used to make the face.

But what if poetry was like our childhood vegetable?

It wasn’t so much the vegetable’s fault as the fact that it was boiled into a tasteless pile of mush.

I remember trying to understand poetry in high school.

Sympathizing with Billy Collins’ “Introduction to Poetry,” tying it to a chair and beating the meaning out of it. 

Then some wonderful Godly Play trainers introduced me to some new storytellers.

Poets creating beautiful and powerful stories with more space on a page than words.

Irene Zimmerman, Danna Faulds, Mary Oliver and Jan Richardson are some.

I am drawn to their words because, like our children, I am introduced to the idea that God did not speak only to the prophets and pages of old.

God speaks today.

I am thankful for these writers, these servants, these gifted people who use their gifts to give witness to God’s unfolding story.

These poems are not scripture.

But some days the spirit of God leaps through them and helps me know that God is near.

That I am loved. That someone knows my story. That I am invited to be part of the story.

Poetry may still be your broccoli. Your Brussels sprouts.

So where do you go? What do you do?

How do you hear, see, listen, be still and know that God is near?

In scripture, song, worship, prayer, nature, community, silence?

I wonder which one is just right for you in this season. 

May you hear the invitation, join that circle of welcome, and feel God loving you.

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