Watch for signs of God working within us, for others

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I didn't miss the signs this time! The recent time change, coupled with a sudden drop in the temperature (at least for a day), reminded me that the rhythm of the seasons is continuing.

Fall will soon arrive, albeit not too soon for me. It is time I look forward to each year: falling leaves, morning haze, frosty grass, and crisp air.

I have, however, learned that I need to be alert. Signs can come fast, sometimes before I expect them. Too often I can be preoccupied with lesser things and miss the very wonderful moments for which I long.

The same is true of our journey of faith.

It is easy to simply miss all the opportunities to experience the presence of God breaking through into our everyday lives. Conflicts in our society and communities, concern about jobs and homes and family, and the stress of illness and reality of death all vie for our attention and energy.

The result is that we can be lured into a way of thinking, a way of seeing the world that presents God as being far off and removed. God is restricted to only acting in super-sized miracles, and more often, massive disasters - even referred to as "acts of God."

Not only that, but this God is presented as working an agenda - such as just waiting to punish us.

Frankly, such a God is not the one revealed to me through Jesus. Instead, an alternative challenge, and opportunity, is to take a closer look at life, viewing it all through the lens of faith. Perhaps God prefers to act most often through people - like you and me - simple, ordinary people.

I will admit working through people is not the way I would do it if I were God. But it does seem to be God's way. If so, each small act of kindness and courage by each person at a time can be a sign of a living, active God at work for good in the world.

Taken together, these acts, God-inspired and human-performed, create a new rhythm that can be seen and sensed - a rhythm forged out of lives lived connected and grafted into the very heart of God.

But to appreciate them, one has to be watching for them, much like the signs of a changing season.

So, I will be especially attentive to watching for how God is present in all the days and events ahead. I don't want to miss these signs - and the opportunity to give God the thanks.

May it be so for you, too!

Pete Berntson is the pastor of Church of the Palms United Methodist Church in Okatie.

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