Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the every day occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
“What is that guy for?” my friend asked me. We had invited a couple to go to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the question was about the first chair violinist who was tuning the orchestra with his own violin before the conductor came on stage to lead the performance.
“Oh, he’s the first-chair violinist—probably the real master of the orchestra—well at least in some ways. He’s giving the pitch—he probably has perfect pitch—and everyone is tuning their instruments—particularly the strings—to him.” Not being musically trained, I was aware that there was probably a lot of conjecture in my reply.
We had a wonderful evening. Orchestral sound is full and replete with subtleties and with a rich feast of musical balances and counterbalances. In time, following my husband’s love, I have become more attuned to the different instruments; my ears actually hear more sound and distinctive notes and phrases.
The next morning I received an e-mail from the friend who had attended the orchestra with us—for the first time, I believe. The short message read: “Last night, as the symphony was starting and the noise of the instruments silenced, and the first chair violinist tuned the orchestra, I found myself thinking of these lyrics.
I’m still tuning myself to the great key, I’m still, I’m still
I’m still mining for light in the dark well, I’m still, I’m still
I’m still a frequency swaying, a leaf in the wind, I’m still, I’m still…
I’m still tuned to an instrument of greater and unknown design
I’m still looking for direction, some kind of sign
I’m still tuning myself to the great key, I’m still, I’m still
—Great Lake Swimmers
Tonight as I write this, it is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I open my red-covered Book of Common Prayer and read the prayer the Celebrant pronounces before the imposition of ashes:
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.
In other words, these 40 days leading up to Easter are the time when the church “tunes itself to the great key” and through the above actions “is still, is still.”
This is a time of sobriety, of careful looking inward, of having enough silence regularly over the stretch of days to consider our own souls.
“Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which coverts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those, who because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church.” —Book of Common Prayer
Whoa!—in the early church this was the season of the baptism of new believers and the restoration of old sinners.
This is a little different spirit than the one focused upon in USA Today. The article on the front page is headlined, “For some, ashes in a flash for Lent.” It appears more than 70 Episcopal parishes in 18 states brought Ash Wednesday to the streets. Dubbed “Ashes to Go,” it’s kind of a contemporary spin on if the people won’t come to church, we’ll take church to the people. “Last year,” the reporter writes, “the Rt. Rev. Jeff Lee, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, stood in full vestments in the rain at the corner of Rush and Huron.” The very first person to stop was a cab driver. He pulled his cab to a halt and called out, “Lent! I completely forgot!” I can see some purpose in this.
However, how do we become attuned with a dab of ash, in busy traffic and the rain? How do we hear the plaintive melody of that instrument of greater and unknown design? How in this scenario just described do we become still in silence, or still in waiting, still tuning ourselves to the great key? How do we?
How do we, on the bustling crowded street find the way to pray?
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins an acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Be still. Wait still. Sh-h-h-h-h-h-h. Listen; the first chair violin is tuning the string section. Hush. In 40 days we will hear the orchestra play.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.