Recently I attended a lecture by Rob Bell. It was the last date for the Holy Shift speaking tour which started in January of this year.
I’ve followed Rob for a while. He’s a compelling writer and a brilliant communicator. He presents spirituality a way that compels listeners to see the world differently and be better people because of it. If you are a regular reader here you know that his book “Velvet Elvis” is on my highly recommended list.
The goal of this post is not to debate Rob’s work. Some in the evangelical church have labeled him heretic. Perhaps that’s why I sought out his writings. I needed to see what others would prefer I not read or listen to. That’s a discussion for another time. In this post I’ll share a little of what I learned last Saturday.
My biggest take away was the notion that “the holy“ continually crashes into the mundane areas of our lives and calls us to see creation’s interconnectedness. It’s never us versus them. It’s always we. If we take the time to observe the moments we share, the times we interact with others—like us and unlike us—we will see glimpses of the holy.
During the lecture Rob shared story after story about moments that felt “set apart.” He encouraged those in attendance to pay close attention to spontaneous flashes of beauty and sadness, compassion and strength, joy and perseverance. He talked of noting things that were especially odd and didn’t seem to fit. These could easily be glimpses we needed to pay attention to.
What do we do with these moments? His recommendation was to let them be. Not to impose our will on them, not to manipulate them to our benefit but to let them play out. These moments are holy. He said to (figuratively) “draw a circle around it,” and don’t violate the circle. That resonated with me.
Too often we careen through life zig-zagging from one thing to another. Let’s slow down and observe. Let’s live in this moment, taking the time to see the holy in a smile, laughter or tears. Let’s stop and breathe and see the glory of creation and the work of a creator. Let’s learn to draw a circle around the moment and hold that moment as set apart and full of meaning.
The beauty of thinking this way is that we don’t need all the answers, we don’t need the full analysis of what’s transpiring. The moments can change us and show us how to value others more deeply and find the divine in our day to day if we let them.
The more we see acts of kindness and compassion the easier it is to respond to others with kindness and compassion. Moments of comfort and sacrifice can spur those actions in our lives.
It’s my hope we begin understand our interconnectedness and start to be people who not only see the holy but lean into caring for and valuing others.