Allowing the Divine to enter into human planning

Guest writer

A few years ago we were planning a meeting and we sat down to look at all the options before us.  We had met on a number of occasions and thought through every minute of the meeting. We were very sure that all the bases were covered. We had the agenda which told us when to start and when to end and, of course, breaks at the appropriate timing. Everything was covered.  Then someone said: “You have not left time for the divine to enter in. You are so worried about what might happen or what could or should happen that you have failed to leave room.”  Leaving room takes a lot of courage. It invites us to anticipate beyond the obvious and to live in a new reality.

As I walked the island last year as part of the long journey towards reconciliation between the settler people and the First Nations of these islands, I learned new ways of being. We had planned and organized well but we learned how to be open to another reality in every part of our daily journey - the reality of the divine, the creator, God. We learned that the distance between this reality and the creator is but tissue thin. We learned that we walk always in the presence of the creator and those who have gone before us in this life. We learned that the creator is at work in our world and has not abandoned us or the world.

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The word serendipity means expecting the unexpected. Serendipity can be described as luck, however, I believe it is the divine breaking into our reality at the most unexpected time and in the most unexpected way.It can happen when we are alone or in the midst of a group. It is when we least expect it but when we most need it.

There is a lovely scene in the Dr. Who series that was on TV last year.  He stands on a planet at the end of time which has two naturally formed towers called The Singing Towers of Darillium.  As he stands looking out on eternity he says:  “When the wind stands fair and the night is perfect. When you least expect it. But always when you need it the most. There is a song.”   

When we least expect it there is a reality that will burst into our lives and surprise us, shock us, comfort us and transform us. Lord George McLeod, the founder of the Iona Community in Scotland, said these words:  "If you call that a coincidence, I hope you have a very dull life."

I do not believe in coincidence and I invite you as well to look and listen for that divine presence in the ordinary, in the common and in the mundane.

In her poem The Rowing Endeth Anne Sexton invites us to consider the possibility that we do not have everything worked out. She invites us to consider the truth that in all our planning and organizing we cannot and should not think that all the bases are covered. In this poem an invitation comes to consider the absurd. The absurd fact that when we least expect it but when we most need it there is a divine intervention into this reality. In the poem she speaks about rowing towards the island that is God. She is invited to play a game of poker. In the game she draws a royal flush and is very sure she has won.  However, God has four aces!. He announces a wild card has been called!  A wild card had been called and shehad not heard.  God laughs, the island laughs and the absurd laugh that untameable, eternal, gut-driven ha-ha and lucky love.

As we continue on the journey we call life know and expect God to play a wild card and as you journey may heaven rub off on you.

The Right Reverend Logan McMenamieThe Right Reverend Logan McMenamie is the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia

You can read more articles form our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking HERE

*This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, July 23, 2016, in the Religion section. 

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