A Note from Intern Nicole
Throughout January, we have been reading together Andrew Root’s biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker: A Theological Vision for Discipleship and Life Together. I am reminded of Bonhoeffer’s emphasis on lived theology. I confess to you that I have a tendency to “live in my head.” I get really excited about ideas, words, stories… But Bonhoeffer reminds me that theology is not just thinking about God, but living out my baptismal calling. Theology is asking the question, “Where is God?” in the wonderful events, in the mundane events, in the painful events. Theology is asking, “Where is God calling me now?” As disciples, we are theological people, but that identity calls us into the world. It calls us to name the brokenness of our world, but also to name God in the midst of that brokenness.
As we continue into Epiphany, we listen for God to be revealed to us, and for us to also be revealed to ourselves. There’s a discernment to that. There’s a faithful questioning. What is God up to? How is the Spirit moving? Part of our discipline is as disciples is to observe and notice those moments. The word “martyr” comes from the Greek word “to witness.” Witnessing has two parts: sharing a testimony (for the martyrs, sharing their testimony even to their deaths), but also seeing.
February is a month that many of us celebrate love with Valentine’s Day. We know from loving other human beings that love is more than a feeling: it is a conversation that happens with words, but also with support, with showing up when the other needs us. Love, like faith, is lived; it’s a relationship that goes two ways. One of my spiritual advisers recommended that I try centering prayer as a spiritual discipline: this is a time of quiet, a time for me to spend in silence, simply listening for God. It is a time separate from my normal prayer practices of speaking to God; it is a time to listen. This has been a lot more difficult than I had anticipated; it turns out that I struggle a lot to quiet my mind, to simply be. But, it has also been a rewarding experience. My life is full of information coming from advertisements, articles, conversations, etc. To take the time to stop and listen for God has changed the way that I think about life. As the name would imply, “centering prayer” re-centers me; I still am surrounded by the same barrage of ideas and information, but I am centered in it. I can see in and through it better. Even on the days when I find centering prayer to be a struggle, when I spend the whole time trying (and feeling like I am failing) to be quiet, I find that I am more willing to look for God, more prepared to witness God’s action around me.
So, sisters and brothers, let us be on the lookout. Let us witness God’s work in this world, and let us bear witness to our God with our hands and feet and voices. Let us live our faith and love for others to see.