Have you ever wondered why incense emanates through a Buddhist Temple, why a worship leader strums his guitar during prayer, or why Jesus chose bread and wine as tools to represent his death and resurrection? Until recently, I’ve never stopped to question these traditions. I’ve always wondered why incense was used in temples, or why the worship leaders version of elevator music was necessary during prayer. It wasn’t until I was invited to my friend Andi’s small group that I realized these practices heighten your awareness of God’s presence.
My friend Andi leads a bible study in her Brighton apartment. Andi makes an extra effort to make her small group feel welcomed by the warmth of her home. She slices fruits and veggies (sometimes bakes cookies) for us to eat, steeps tea, Hillsong and Jesus Culture in the background while we work through scripture and share our struggles. When we pray, we hold hands. Its no wonder I feel the Holy Spirit is a part of this gathering. When Andi welcomes you to her home, she is welcoming you into the warmth that is Jesus Christ. Why God created us with five senses is no longer a mystery to me – thanks Andi.
Jesus called his disciples to gather before his crucifixion. He was asking his small group, his family of twelve, to congregate (ecclesia) for dinner where they could ‘be’ in Him. He gave us bread to dry our tongue and to feel the body that is Christ. Jesus gave us wine to taste the blood that is his sacrifice. In the same way that Christ sent his son as a tangible example of his love – something we can digest – so does he give us the sacrament. He gives us his son. God understands we struggle to know his existence. To come to know him at an intimate level takes incredible faith. So he gives us senses to fully experience him – to know he is real. In the same way, fire appeals to the five senses: you can hear the wood crackle, feel the warmth of the flame, taste and smell the dry wood, and see oxygen combust in a flash if light. It’s no wonder many of our most memorable conversations (moments) take place by fire.
A goal of mine on Kingdom Journeys is to experience God at my intimate capacity. What does this mean? It means I want to feel so full of the Holy Spirit, so in tune with his will for me that there is no doubting his existence. He is hungry for us and I thank him now for giving me the senses to receive him.
Post Script: How I experience God
Touch: I feel his presence when I run
Smell: the smell of fresh macaroons
Taste: the taste of fresh mango
Hearing: the resounding melodies of Yo-yo Ma
Sight: the sight of the Pyrenees mountains as I walk the Camino to Santiago
P.P.S. If you want a memorable experience, find environments that appealing to the 5 senses.