What does the world look like according to God? How might we view the world, and our lives in it, differently if we viewed them through God-colored glasses rather than only our own retinas? These are questions Marty Stortz encourages Christians to ponder in her book A World According to God: Practices for Putting Faith at the Center of Your Life. Using the irreverent analogy of pickpockets who have trained their eyes to view all the world as a pocket, she argues that Christians ought to train their eyes to view all the world as part of God’s ongoing creation – a place where God is always present and at work, and where they are always invited to participate.
We can train our eyes, and our hearts, minds, bodies and actions, through engaging in various Christian practices. As Stortz points out, Christianity is not a religion that people merely assent to, it is something that people participate in; we practice our faith through our daily lives. Christian practices range from Bible study and prayer to acts of kindness and service. They include ways in which believers fellowship, learn, outreach and worship together. These essential practices allow us to truly live out our faith. Stortz writes, “Through practices, a tradition enters the heart. Through practices, beliefs enter the body.” It is through participating in various spiritual practices that we train our eyes to see God at work in our lives and in the world, and are thus able to participate in this work.
One particularly helpful Christian practice in this regard is something Lakeshore kids refer to as “God Sightings.” At Vacation Bible Camp, they spend some time each day thinking about where, how, or in whom they have caught a glimpse of God. After identifying these God sightings, they write them down and offer prayers of thanksgiving. This simple, repetitive act is a great example of a Christian practice that trains us to embody our faith and allow it to change the way we view (and act in) the world.
In the months to come, I look forward to exploring many different Christian practices with the congregation – and practicing together ways in which we can see God in our midst.