This personal practice of faithful presence has become what I have based my life on for over a decade now. I think that this practice is the essence of spirituality in the twenty-first century. It always seems to subvert the dominant themes of upward mobility, consumerism and individualism. Here are 10 thoughts on why I feel faithful presence can bring value to your life as it has mine:
1. You become known in a local community. Being faithfully present will relieve some of the loneliness that is so common within our culture. It is nice to have lots of connections and friendships in the place you live. How can life have any meaning outside of relationship with others?
2. You learn to see God in your everyday context. We cannot reduce God’s presence to some spaces in our lives and not others. God is present in our everyday lives all of the time, but we are not always aware of this sometimes. Faithful presence helps us with our awareness of God in our local context.
3. You commit to personal growth. Faithful presence pushes us to growth as human beings. We have to choose to value the others around us in the place we live. This causes us to be the change we want to see in the world.
4. You start to value your neighbors and see them as your greatest teachers. Faithful presence is a more refined definition of love. And love is about learning from others as if they were your greatest teachers in life. My neighbors become revelations of God to me.
5. You learn to listen which helps relationships become healthy. Listening is the fruit of faithful presence. We will have to stop talking so much and learn to pay attention to the small, ordinary experiences that our relationships bring to us in everyday life.
6. You become less fragmented and find more peace. Faithful presence centers us together in the place we live. We are no longer running around in all directions chasing everything that seems like life to us while becoming more tired and rushed. Instead, we find peace in being with others who are our neighbors.
7. You become more graceful, kind and compassionate. We really learn to show a creative compassion to those in our context. Being faithfully present has a way of grace and kindness about it. We become human in the process.
8. You practice being the church where you share life together with others. With faithful presence, you start being the church together. You start to live your life with intentionality and purpose. Your dreams become aligned with the dreams of God for the place you live.
9. You collaborate more than compete. Faithful presence allows you to have a mindset of collaboration with others. Competition becomes less important. Love becomes more natural to us.
10. You start to look at scripture through a relational lense. Faithful presence helps us to see scripture through a lense of relational connection in everyday life. We start to see scripture through a way of life in community with others. This will bring us greater clarity.
Which point resonates most with you? Please comment!