God is popping up in unexpected places in these hot July days.  As temperatures soar and wildfires rage, the quiet places are revealing God’s presence to our bloggers.

A wedding in France prompts Linda Anderson-Little to think about savoring experiences rather than rushing through them at Soul Story Writer.  The wedding was expected to be slow and meaningful, without worry about the time.  In the slowness, God showed up.  “This expansiveness of time and space that “savoring” the service offered, enabled us not just to talk about love, but to see it in action and to feel it in the moment…I realized that savoring an experience is a spiritual practice. It helps me with what I think is intended when we talk about “mindfulness”—being fully present to the moment with an expansiveness that is freed from anxiety about the next thing. I wonder what else I might learn to savor? Perhaps this is also a gift of summer—taking time to savor a good book, our toes in the sand, a family game night, or time with our beloved. Perhaps prayer can also be savored–savoring God’s presence and allowing God to savor being with us as well.”

Some say that birds are messengers from the spirit world.  Kim at Sandpipers Thoughts is learning from the birds that come to her feeder.  She notices that the traffic at the bird feeder goes up when she goes inside, then “the birds gather at the feeders. I can stand in our kitchen and watch them. They come from all directions and take their places, feasting.  Remember the book, “A Purpose Driven Life?” I think it’s that one – the first line of the book is “It’s not about you.” When we step out of the way – either physically, emotionally, or intellectually – interesting things can happen. When we give up control, and move out of the way, ministry can happen. God can work – sometimes through us, and sometimes around us. But we have to allow it.”

God has Kristin Berkey Abbott at Liberation Theology reflecting on Jesus’ instruction to “Judge Not.”  She finds the judgment going in a surprising direction.  “Frankly, I’m much harder on myself.  I give others the benefit of the doubt as I remind myself that I can’t possibly understand every aspect of what’s affecting them.  Meanwhile, in my own head, I hear a chorus of voices that remind me of all the ways I’m not living up to my full potential, of all the ways I’ve let everyone down.  You might think I need some therapy, and you might be right, but I suspect I’m not alone in this.  I know many people who are far more gentle with each other than they are with themselves.  Just listen to how people talk, and you’ll see.”

Dirt brings God to mind for Melanie Lynn Griffin at Writing With Spirit.  Thinking about sacred soil, and being grounded in God, she reflects on her return from the Wild Goose Festival.  “My friends and I have been on sacred ground, sacred meaning “holy” or “set apart for or by God…” Soil is what feeds us and nourishes us. It’s what we are made of. As the Bible says, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” What soil will we choose for nourishment?”  She adds a reminder that “We can sink our roots into the polluted soil of judgement and contempt and divisiveness, or we can choose the sacred soil of love and openness and peacemaking.”

Over at Katy and the Word, Katy shares what tasting of God is like.  Watching seven year old Westley, she sees him holding his communion cup as carefully as he can.  “This is the blood of the New Covenant, Friends, drink ye all of it,” she says, and then Westley “drinks it and we drink it.  And Westley tastes God.”  The moment is full of emotion.  “Watching my autistic son take communion, being soothed by its ritual, experiencing the taste of the liturgy in community in a way the wordy-words of the sermon and even the half-warbled hymns from his throat doesn’t.  Westley loves church, because he knows he is loved. He knows he is accepted.”

Where is God showing up for you this summer?  Or not showing up in a place where you usually meet?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Rev. Mary Austin is the pastor of Westminster Church of Detroit, a diverse Presbyterian church.  She is hoping to meet up with God at the ice cream store later today.  She blogs from time to time at Stained Glass in the City.

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