Celebrating the God Within
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to join peers from Wake Div, fellow divinity students from Duke, Campbell, and Gardner-Webb, as well as ministers from across the state for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina’s General Assembly at First Baptist Church of Greensboro. The divinity student experience included a time of lectio divina, which was led by third-year Wake Div student Abby Pratt. For those who are unfamiliar with the practice, lectio divina involves prayerful meditation and contemplation of a given piece of work. This is generally done with scripture, but can easily be done with a poem, song, etc. The practice is done to draw deeper into the divine. Our time doing lectio divina was focused on Psalm 46, which was read several times from different translations of the text. Each reading was followed by a period of silence for reflection.
Though there were different phrases that attracted my attention each time, I consistently found myself thinking about the reading of the beginning of verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Many of us have heard this verse many times, but in deep reflection I found something powerful about a human being reading this text. “Be still, and know that I am God.” Often in the reading and hearing of scripture, the mind automatically differentiates between God and humanity. Humanity is often depicted as mortal, limited, and in many ways incapable. God, on the other hand, is viewed as eternal, ethereal, and powerful. Yet, God and humanity are inextricably entwined. Scripture reminds us that we are imago Dei, made in the image of God.
My time in the School of Divinity has provided me with more than graduate-level knowledge of theology, church history, homiletics, and pastoral care. It has, in the most unexpected ways, revealed to me emanations of the spirit of God in everyday life. Whether fellowshipping with a classmate during Community Lunch or joining together in worship, I have come to notice and appreciate the reflection of God that emanates from each individual. Our love, our smiles, and our compassion are but a few ways that I see the presence of God radiating from each person every day.
Within our very being, the love, grace, and peace of God exist. I am God, and you are God, and the God within invites us to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion. Each of us is granted those beautiful God-given abilities and it is worth celebrating every opportunity we get. We ought to celebrate not only the God who is present, but also the person who embodies that presence. You deserve to be celebrated as a beautiful creation.
It was in a moment of silent reflection on the reading of scripture that I found God teaching that I am not separate and “other.” In the unity of the Ground of Being with my own being, I found God proclaiming from within me. Take a moment to be still and come to know that God is within you. Be encouraged that you are wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Reach within and discover the excellently divine creation you are. With each new breath, recognize who you are and whose you are.
Nick Stewart is a second-year student and an oncology chaplain intern at the Novant Health Derrick L. Davis Cancer Center. Nick plans to pursue hospital chaplaincy following graduation from the School of Divinity.