Tonight, our girls Bible study met and shared a wonderful meal and an even better discussion! (Sidenote: I love having international friends. The food is so good!!) As a discussion starter, we watched one of Rob Bell's Nooma dvds*. The one we chose was called Rhythm, and in it Bell uses music as a metaphor for God: He is the melody, and the question we ask ourselves is "Am I in tune?"
For a while now, I've been feeling like my life isn't in tune with God, though before tonight I wouldn't have phrased it quite like that. I wouldn't say that I am playing a dissonant chord, or that I'm just slightly out of tune. I think the problem is that I've stopped hearing God's melody, and have fallen silent. And my half-hearted attempts to find the melody again aren't working.
Here's a quote from the film:
For many people, their concept of God is built around a God who is outside of everything, a God who essentially is somewhere else, a God who made the world but then stands back and watches it form this other vantage point, a God who's there, and then from time to time comes here.
When I heard those words, I realized that lately I have been operating under the assumption that God is outside of this world and occasionally pops his head in to give some direction or judgement or mercy. What's strange, though, is that I don't actually believe that. I believe that God is present and active in this world, not just in flashy periodic displays of his greatness, but also in small details of our lives. God is everywhere, but for some reason I've been ignoring him. I see God every day, but I haven't been seeing him.
I asked the girls what kinds of things they do to help remind themselves of God's presence and his love for us during those times when we feel distant and unattached, when we can't hear the melody. What I realized helps me in my darker times is seeing people who are passionately in love with God, whether it be through watching a Nooma film, reading a book, or talking with a dear friend. When I see other people who are in tune with God's great melody, it reminds me of the song I want to be playing. It refreshes my mind and heart, and I remember the things that I strive for in my relationship with God. It's like the muscle memory we have for riding a bicycle. No matter how long it's been, we can always hop on and start pedaling again.
*Nooma dvds are short (10 minute) films about a variety of Christian themes.