Walking and greeting everyone she passes with a heartfelt “Good morning,” Jennifer Ginn regularly exercises not only her body but also her soul.
“I meet God on the track at my local YMCA,” wrote Ginn in an email to Living Lutheran. “Circling the track over and over creates a pattern for my body and mind in which God takes shape every time.”
Most days as she walks, Ginn, a pastor of Cross & Crown Lutheran Church, Matthews, N.C., meditates on the Scriptures she’s preaching about on Sunday. She envisions walkers and runners—fellow pilgrims on our common journey of faith—as characters from the Bible.
“Rehearsing the story of Mary and Martha, I wonder about the two ladies always walking together. Which one prefers sitting and listening over tending to dinner?” Ginn wrote. “Whatever the Scripture, it issues the same invitation to watch the very real people around me walking in and out of God’s story.”
Ginn is among those who responded to Living Lutheran’s call inviting readers to share where they see God. Like Ginn, several see God in other people.
“I see God in the poor moms that need clothes for their children at Harvest House Baby and Children’s Ministry in Buffalo,” wrote Melissa Peters, an avid volunteer and member of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Depew, N.Y. “When I wake and put my feet on the floor, I thank God that he has given me another day to serve.”
Russell Makant, pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church, Conover, N.C., saw God in a fortuitous rescue.
Makant was walking with his wife in their neighborhood following a winter storm that dropped a foot of snow. By divine coincidence they saw their neighbor fall as he was heading to his car.
“I have most often thought of holy-ground moments as fire-laden, burning bushes—clear indicators that God was up to something,” he wrote. “But this ‘holy ground’ had 12 inches of snow covering it and an elderly man, Eddie, had fallen to his knees, post hip surgery. We helped him up.”
Another reader sees God in the faces of kind strangers who assist her as she moves around in her wheelchair. Judy Schlegel, a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Durham, N.C., said fellow shoppers at the grocery store are happy to reach an item high on a shelf or pick up a dropped item for her.
“From those who open or hold doors, volunteer to drive, carry my drink at church dinners, run errands, take my trash down to the curb on collection day, and on and on, I experience God’s love many times each day,” Schlegel wrote.
Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus revealed his divine nature to the sick and suffering. Similarly, some readers saw God as they experienced illness or ministered to the sick.
“The doctor-patient relationship is a holy one in which God is the ever-present intermediary,” wrote Ronald Burmeister, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist who belongs to Our Savior Lutheran Church, Rockford, Ill. Countless times he has witnessed God in the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. In retirement he remains a healer, anointing the sick with holy oil.
“God is present every day. … And you don’t have to look hard to see him.”
“With faces uplifted, some with tears, others with eyes closed, recipients manifest trust through faith as they sense the warmth of the oil-traced cross on their foreheads and hear, ‘Child of God, receive this oil in the name of Jesus Christ; be filled with God’s Grace and love; and know the healing power of the Holy Spirit,’ ” he wrote.
Throughout the joys and challenges of her life, Jane McKinley has prayed to God as a friend—in a chatty, conversational tone. “It was so comforting to know that the Spirit was always there,” wrote the member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Lakewood, N.J. And over the years, that friendship has deepened.
“Now I’m old, so tired from my 13 years of battling cancer, but … my best friend [stays] with me,” she wrote. “When I have a crisis, all I have to do is call on God and I calm right down.”
Jesus promises to be present whenever two or more are gathered in his name. Not surprisingly, many readers saw God in worship and church traditions.
“For me, it is the great classic hymns of the church [that] were sung into my heart in childhood and [that] I still sing from memory even when I can’t remember what I had for lunch,” wrote Rodney Juell, a retired pastor in Joliet, Ill.
Norwegian Christmas traditions and rituals revealed God to Art Dale when he was a boy. On Christmas Eve 1938, following a family celebration at which his father read the Nativity story, Dale had a profound experience of the divine.
“Pure wonder stopped everything,” wrote Dale, a retired pastor in Soudan, Minn. “Standing in the darkness something beautiful, ancient and very real held me in the mystery of God being born in Jesus, zapping the world. Every Christmas Eve, [I encounter] that same wonder. The love of Jesus, bound together with our human love, mysteriously fills the universe. The communion of saints is real. God loves everyone.”
But most of the responders—as with most Christians—see God in a plethora of places and faces throughout their days. That was the case for Julie Roy, a member of Shepherd of the Sea Lutheran Church, Garden City, S.C. Whether it’s staring up at the night sky, noticing guests at a food pantry or observing the kindness of members who help others, she’s aware God is all around us.
“God is present every day,” Roy wrote. “And you don’t have to look hard to see him.”
Reader call: Friendship
From Ruth and Naomi to Moses and Aaron, the Bible is rich with tales of friendship. How do friendships enrich your faith? By Oct. 30, send your 300-word story, subject line “Friendship,” to firstname.lastname@example.org for an opportunity to be published in Living Lutheran.