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An eternal question: Where do you find God?

Columnist Emily Carson says God is all around, if we are just looking for Him.

Holy Everything — Emily Carson column sig
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A precocious preschooler asked a question during worship, and his words were a sermon all on their own. I was visiting a local congregation for an ordination anniversary celebration for a pastor. On this particular Sunday, I didn’t have any worship leadership responsibilities, so I was sitting in a long, cushioned pew alongside the rest of the gathered assembly.

When it came time for the children’s sermon, a big bunch of kids crowded around the adult leader who was delivering the message. She shared a thoughtful reflection on the concept of grace. The kids leaned in close and responded eagerly to all of her prompts.

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Then, as if he’d just placed the final piece in a great big puzzle, a little boy – perhaps 4-years-old – with shaggy blond hair and a gray T-shirt asked, “And where do we find God?”

The leader paused and responded, “In the people all around us. In our church community. In many places. That is a very big question.” She then wrapped up the children’s sermon, and the young ones walked back to their seats. I watched the boy’s face as he continued to noodle on his query.

So often in religious spaces, we hear instruction about God, belief and behavior. The youngster’s inquiry reminded me that at every age, our hearts long for more than information. We desire direct encounters with the divine, and we wonder the very same thing that he did, “In this big, mysterious universe, where do we find God?”

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If you were asked this question, how would you respond? I would begin with the thought that perhaps the finding goes both ways. Just as we seek to find God, God seems to be forever searching for us, too. There are many environments where sacred encounters can occur; access to God exists through relationships, stillness, art, nature, rituals, acts of creative expression and life’s challenges. In all these realms, and so many more, we can experience the nearness of the holy.

Consider your own journey. When and where have you found God? When and where has God found you? Take some time to reflect.

From the most monumental of moments to the tiniest of details, our whole lives contain divine possibilities. When we are able to remember that there are manifold pathways into fellowship with the divine, God is never far off. No longer stuck looking for the Creator of the Universe in the same places we’ve always looked, we begin to recognize all of life as sacred. God can find us everywhere and always.

"Holy Everything" is a weekly column by Emily Carson. She is a Lutheran pastor. Visit her website emilyannecarson.com .

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