Then, as a body, we sang “Holy, holy, holy.” The tears continued. I looked around, wondering if it was just me, so touched in this moment. Those around me did their own adjusting to His presence. Couples moved closer to one another. A mother wrapped her arm around the teenage, rebellious son. God is here.
I listened to words about the kingdom of God and our lives within it and a rush of perspective moved through me, over and under and around. What is real is that God is here.
I walked in a daze to the bookstore to find a book that includes a map of where Jesus was teaching as described in Luke’s gospel. My daughter and I read it together every night – one night she reads and the next I read. But, we really need a map. Where is the Sea of Galilee? Where is Capernaum? And where are these places in relation to Bethlehem and Nazareth? She asks me these things as we read and I just don’t know. I find a book with maps and pictures, broken down by each book of the Bible. At the beginning of the section on Luke, there is a map of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Bethlehem, and Nazareth. Tears formed in the backs of my eyes and my throat ached slightly as happened. These are real places. I ran my finger over the map, stunned. God is here.
I sat at a high table reading and waiting for my daughter to return from her weekend retreat with the junior-high ministry. I watched people come and go, mostly in groups of two or three. They held things – coffee, Bibles, journals, bags, purses, children, hands, tragedies, triumphs, hurts, healings. They talked about the afternoon game and their favorite coffee flavor. God is here.
My daughter’s purple suitcase sat sandwiched between two others with a little green tag with her name. I pulled it out, “This one is mine.” The yellow buses pulled up and kids poured out. “Where is mine?” I saw her small-group leader and searched the sea of faces for the one I knew so well, the one I saw take its first gasp of air. And there was the face! My breath caught in my throat and tears rushed in again. I shouted her name over the noise and she turned, knowing my voice. She smiled and ran to me. I smelled her hair and felt her fingers and knew again. God is here.
On the way home, she told me of some verses in the Bible she had discovered. She told me that she underlined them and read them during her “solo time.” When I asked her which was most meaningful to her, she said it came from Matthew 6. And from the back seat, she read it slowly as if for the first time:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who
sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to
but rescue us from the evil one.
God is here. Yes, God is here.