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The art of presence

September 8, 2007

“I often tell priests who work in parishes that one of the best things they can ‘do’ is simply walk around their neighborhoods and be present to their people. If they don’t do something they feel they are wasting their lives away… There is an inability to realize that the presence of a person who is in love with God is enough, and that nothing else is needed… one should be perfectly at peace even (should I say especially?) when one hasn’t got ‘something to do.'” (Poustinia p. 67)

Since going to half time at the shop this has been my goal. I’m just trying to be in the neighborhood, among my neighbors, praying – sometimes directly for them after a conversation, more often just quietly as i walk the streets – present. When i do this i have the distinct and strong sense that i am cooperating with God… yet outwardly nothing measureable (by normal standards) is getting done. I guess what I’m saying is I am learning to be present and learning that is enough right now.

“Wherever you are, be all there.” Jim Elliot

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2007 11:29 am

    “Wherever you are, be all there.” Jim Elliot

    this elliot quote is one of the best practical suggestions for being relational…in the past (and it’s still so at times) my mind was always running 2 or 3 steps ahead, and God helped me see that i wasn’t listening and people could tell i wasn’t and it signalled that i didn’t care…i think a lot of us aren’t present with people, and we are just thinking of what we are going to say next instead of listening and responding to the deeper things in others…

  2. September 9, 2007 11:48 am

    Don’t forget:

    “Wherever you go, there you are” –Buckaroo Banzai

    Kevin- I’m glad that the space for this has opened up- The ministry of presence is oft overlooked in our busy culture.

    Love all you peeps!

  3. September 11, 2007 3:17 am


  4. September 11, 2007 1:56 pm

    I loved it when you (and your family) walked into my neck of the woods …

  5. September 13, 2007 10:09 pm

    Good advice. I think I’m going to take it. Hope all is well with you mate.

  6. Linda W. permalink
    November 25, 2007 2:57 am

    There was a man named Brother Bryan of Birmingham, who was a pastor in Birmingham, Alabama…I believe during the 1940’s or around that time if I remember correctly (I read the book about 15 years ago about his life). I will never forget the story I read of him. He basically took time to be with the people of Birmingham. He spent his days ministering to all he met. Sometimes he would leave the house with a coat and perhaps a new pair of shoes. When he came home at the end of the day, he would be coatless and shoeless, for he had met someone during the day who needed his coat or his shoes more than he needed them.

    Here lately, the Lord has been pointing out that much of my misery and stress in life is because I am looking for some “meaningful, big thing” to do for Him, when He wants me to humble myself and just “be” so He can “do” in my life and the lives of those I encounter.

    I wrote recently, “God’s Will is often the life we are living while we are pining away for something different.”

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