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Faces on Faith: Facing sacred moments

March 14, 2014
By REV. GEORGE MORRIS - Pastor, Captiva Chapel-By-The-Sea ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Rabbi Abraham Heschel, in his life-enriching book, Sabbath, writes: "The higher goal of spiritual living is not to mass a wealth of knowledge, but to face sacred moments."

What does it meant to "face sacred moments?" I believe it means living into them, internalizing them, allowing them to nurture us in body, mind, and spirit, and to enliven our journeys of faith.

I'm grateful for sacred moments. Not the manufactured or manipulated kind, but those serendipitous events that cause us to sing:

Article Photos

Rev. George Morris. PHOTO PROVIDED.

"O how glorious, full of wonder, is Thy name o'er all the earth"

A few years ago I was hiking in Yoho National Park. Every moment was alive with inspiring and breathtaking scenes of nature's beauty. With all that I was seeing and feeling, I was on stimulation overload to say the least. One day we had hiked all morning and at about noon we came around a bend in the trail and before us was Lake McArthur. I was unprepared for what unfolded in those moments. My whole being was suddenly overwhelmed as I stood there gazing at the scene before us. Fellow hikers walked past making their way to the edge of the water, but I couldn't move, and I did not want to talk.

Friends were sensitive and gave me the space and aloneness I needed. For about an hour I was uniquely conscious of the sacred, the holy, and the wonder of our Creator God. For me, it was a "divine moment," and in the silence I recalled my college president, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, saying to the student body during a time of spiritual renewal on the campus: "Give me one divine moment when God acts, and I say that moment is far superior to all the human efforts of man through the centuries." There in Yoho, I faced a sacred moment and have been continuously mindful of its life-transforming impact on my life.

On another occasion, I was present one evening at a college mid-week prayer service. The school mandated attendance at these services and I often attended out of obligation and a desire not to have my academic grades lowered! On this particular evening a resident evangelist, Dr. John Klinepeter, was leading the service and invited us to join him in singing Horatio G. Spafford's hymn, "It Is Well with My Soul." As the student body sang, a "sacred moment" unfolded. It was as if a holy aura filled the chapel and our hearts were strangely warmed. As a community of faith we faced a sacred moment and the love, grace, and peace of God were realized by many of us that evening in life enriching and transforming ways.

Such sacred moments have not been many, or planned, and have never been routine. Surely various explanations could be offered as to what they were or were not, but for me they have gently reminded me of God's presence in all of life and in particular my life. They have "nudged" me closer to God, motivated me to be a Christian in my heart and in my relationships with others, and prompted me to do the good I can do.

I've read in Celtic literature that there is only three feet between God and humanity. In "sacred moments" the distance is almost not existent! Face them when they come your way and be blessed to be a blessing.



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