God is Everywhere

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God is everywhere.

He is not and will not be contained to a certain space or time or event. His Spirit permeates everything around us—the air we breathe, the mountains we climb, the coffee we drink, the food we eat, the love we make, the words we speak, the thoughts we think, the wind we often curse, the heat that causes us to sweat, the sweat that cools our bodies, the chill that races down our spine as the breeze blows through our dampened shirt. He is in the changing air of autumn, in the transformation of the leaves, from green to yellow, to orange, to red, to brown, to their falling from the branch. He is in the ground as the grass and flowers go to sleep for the winter, in the snowflakes that fall and blanket the ground in it's suspended animation. He is in your cold toes and in the blanket that slowly warms them, the fire that crackles and pops in the fireplace, or the radiator that slowly chases the chill from your living room. He is in the new life that returns in the spring, in the chlorophyll that changes our world from white and grey and brown back to vibrant green. He is in the death and rot of the compost that we use to fertilize our gardens, and he is in the produce that comes up from the ground to nourish us and sustain us as the temperatures once again rise. 

Yes, God is everywhere. 

There is a Psalm authored by David that captures this idea beautifully. Here's just a snippet of what David knew to be true of God:

I can never escape from your Spirit!

I can never get away from your presence!

If I go up to heaven, you are there;

if I go down to the grave, you are there.

If I ride on the wings of the morning,

if I dwell by the farthest oceans, 

even there your hand will guide me,

and your strength will support me.

I could ask the darkness to hide me

and the light around me to become night--

but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. (Psalm 139:7-12, New Living Translation)

So, if God is everywhere, how is it that we miss him so often? Or why do some who follow Jesus spend so much time and energy either building boxes to contain him (churches, doctrines, religions, dogmas) or trying to inject him in to certain aspects of our daily lives while building up walls to keep him out of other aspects of our lives? 

Many of us have jumped from church to church to church because we couldn't find a theology or a doctrine that matched the container in which we thought we could keep God. Or, we encountered something in our life that threatened to dismantle our box or that wouldn't fit in there with Him. Perhaps we were convinced by an individual or a group of people that there were certain places that God was no longer allowed by society. There was a meme that went around in several Christian circles on social media that has since been made in to a t-shirt that reads like this:

"Dear God, 

Why do you allow so much violence in our schools?

Signed,

A concerned student

Dear Student, 

I'm not allowed in schools.

God"

We've all heard folks around us bemoaning the degradation of our society, the lack of morality that has come with removing God from our schools and our courtrooms and our government. We've seen the televangelists blaming hurricanes and terrorist attacks on America's tolerance of homosexuality. God has clearly forsaken us, and if we will just beat ourselves up a little more, pray more fervently, read our bibles and quote more scripture out of context, and try to save the gays and convert the muslims and give teachers guns to protect their students in the classroom, God will hear our prayers and heal our land. We can get him to return to us, we can put him back in our boxes, and everything will be okay. 

Or...maybe God is still everywhere. We've just been too busy trying to get him to play by our rules, trying to keep him confined to our beliefs, reduced to the parts of His being that we can understand, that make us feel safe, that make us seem right, that make us sound spiritual and good and loving...and we missed him. I wonder how David might write Psalm 139 today?

I can never escape from your Spirit!

I can never get away from your presence!

When I wake up in the morning and dread going to work,

there you are.

When I sip my morning coffee, you're with me.

When I'm rolling my eyes at the "I'm with her" bumper sticker

on the Prius in front of me as I'm stuck in traffic, 

You are there.

When I think horribly sexist or racist things 

about the person who cut me off at the exit ramp,

when I am having a conversation with my coworker

who never accepts my invitations to church,

You are with me.

When I'm in biology class,

learning about the theory of evolution

you are there.

When my gay son tells me he's bringing his boyfriend home for Thanksgiving,

when I read a quote in a magazine 

from a buddhist monk,

but it sounds a lot like something I read in Proverbs,

when shots ring out in the halls of a school,

and parents and students stand crying out on the sidewalk

You are with us.

When politicians debate the value of a life yet unborn

There You are.

I can try to hide you under a basket,

or fit you in a box

or a temple

or a church

or a bible

or a book

or a doctrine

or a religion

but You won't be contained.

There is nowhere I can go to get away from You

because You are everywhere.

Perhaps that is a bit unnerving, and perhaps this is why we try so hard to keep God in box. The implications of this threaten to blow apart our containers and will require us to live differently, to reconsider our idea of community/church, to treat people and our planet with respect, to slow down and open our eyes to see the glory and beauty all around us.