Listenings: Magnificence!

When we live in congruence with God and the ways of God, we find that we have entered into a “magnificent” life—one that only God can create—one that only God can offer.

When skeptics tell Christians to live in the “real world,” our response can only be, “We are living in the Real World—God’s world.”  It is the man-made, fallen world which is the illusion.

Evelyn Underhill rightly notes that the Kingdom of God is the greatest of all realities.  We need never apologize for living in it.  It is the “real world” for which we are created.

Perhaps one of the reasons we are seeing so many people saying, “I’m spiritual, but not religious” is because we have failed to show them the magnificence of God’s world.  Perhaps one reason many are not even claiming to be “religious” anymore is that we have not helped them to catch a vision of life as God intends it to be.  Perhaps one of the reasons so many are abandoning the church is that we have pulled a “bait and switch” on them by substituting “churchianity” for Christianity.

As Underhill puts it, “a mighty symphony fills the universe,” and we are made by God and invited by God to be in that orchestra.  The routines of our lives are part of the magnificence, because in God’s world “magnificence” is never limited to the seismic or bombastic elements of life.  When we are living in God’s world, we find “magnificence” everywhere, and we certainly don’t have to “manufacture” it with stunning sights and sounds. Even silence is part of God’s magnificence.

Prayer is the means of grace by which we activate the universal impulse to seek and relate to that which is “beyond” ourselves.  It begins with something as simple as two words:  “Our Father….”


About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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