By Sherry Habben
The words above from Bishop Robert Schnase’s book, Five Practices of Fruitful Living, are some of my favorite lines. They come in the chapter on Receiving God’s Love, The Practice of Radical Hospitality. They speak to moments in my own life that helped me break through the surface life. Often, it was only in hindsight that I began to realize the intrusion, the encounter...the grace-filled presence that I had experienced.
There are moments, some call it “thin places,” when different events in our lives bring down some of the barriers that we have put up. These are times where we find ourselves in places emotionally, spiritually and physically that we have not been before. There is more opportunity in these thin places for us to be receptive to God’s presence through the Holy Spirit.
I think we are yearning for mystery, for the possibility that there is more, that God indeed is near and has a word for us.
One of my favorite scripture passages is in 1 Samuel 3 where we are told of a thin place where God is trying to speaking to Samuel. Samuel has no experience of God. Even Eli who is the seasoned person who does have an experience of God, doesn’t realize at first what is happening. It takes Samuel coming to him three times and asking what he needs to realize that it is God calling to Samuel. He then tells Samuel to go back to bed and when he hears the voice, to say: Here I am Lord, your servant, ready to listen.
When Samuel hears the voice a third time, and says, here I am Lord, your servant, ready to listen, God speaks to Samuel.
There needs to be spaces in our lives where God can break through. There needs to be Eli’s who point out that God is near and wants to speak a word into our lives; where God can say: pay attention, or see I am about to do something, or listen carefully.
Growth in the spiritual life is about using various means to be open to hearing God and to creating a welcoming space for God to enter into our lives. Hospitality to God means intentionally making ourselves available to God.
God wants to speak words of love and grace into our lives. Are you ready to listen?