Skip to main content

Trespassing on Sacred Space - Or, What My Four-Year Old Taught Me About the Presence of God

"And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us..."
I am a Christ-follower who prays using the trespasses/trespass version of the Lord's prayer (no big theological issue with debts/debtors, sins/sin, etc. just what I'm used to).  I am a firm believer that it does not matter to God what method we use to pray, just as long as we are praying.  I know there is varied theological depth to the different words we use, and I appreciate the various ways that others commune with God in prayer.

Just a few weeks ago however, my eyes were opened to a new way of understanding what trespasses could mean for those who claim Christ, from the eyes of a four-year old.  As with many deeply theological lessons I have experienced in life, this one also arrived in the form of one of my boys.  Fridays are daddy day-care days with Josh, and also my day off.  On this particular Friday however, I had a hospital visit that could not wait one more day, and I knew that Josh's smile would be the right medicine, so with Bob the monkey (Curious George) and blanket in tow, we ventured out to the hospital.  "The one where Jesus lives in their hearts, dad?" Joshua asked.  (Like many Catholic hospitals this one also has a large cross on the building's exterior). 

After spending five minutes going around and around in the automatic rotating door, we finally entered the hospital where Josh noticed a security guard at the information counter.  Josh approached the man and immediately said "Sir, do you have Jesus in your heart?" to which the man replied with an awkward stumble in words and finally, "the room you're looking for is 903."  Not one bit satisfied with that response, Josh said "you know, if you hit your chest too hard you'll hurt Jesus because he lives in your heart."   The man could not escape the question this time, so he replied by saying "Maybe I need to think about that a little more."

I don't know if the security guard went home that day pondering what Josh had said to him, but I know one preacher whose mind and heart were stirring with joy and a hint of challenge.  I thought to myself...
"How many times do I trespass- get in the way of someone's experience of God, either by judging them or being critical of their life?"
Jesus lives in the hearts and lives of God's people.  Who are we to trespass on that sacred space?


Popular posts from this blog

A Plea for Authentic Community

I probably don't need to tell you that social media has been ablaze with reasons why Millennials are not attending church (see here and here).  And there have been multitudes of Facebook and Twitter arguments about who is right and wrong about divided issues.  Peeling the layers behind the heated discussions that have been filling our Twitter feeds and Facebook walls over the past few weeks reveals a deeper issue that I believe is the key to the success (or failure) of those who consider ourselves to be Christ followers to effectively communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ.  More specifically, for United Methodists to live out our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The issue at stake is community, the connectedness of people to one another and to God.  Today, our society is so connected (via technology) that we have become disconnected, even isolated when it comes to authentic, face to face connection with one another.  What we gain …


Lately I've been contemplating the power of water and its inherent properties that enable it to flow wherever there is access.  In fact, even when we think we've done enough to patch every hole, cover every crack, and waterproof any point of entry, water continues to find its way into places we would rather it not go.  Over the past week or so, we have not been wanting for more water as it has been raining in buckets for several days.  Not that we don't need the rain; the ground has been soaking it up like a sponge.  However, there are some areas where the ground is causing the water to simply run off, or pool into large puddles.

Witnessing the rain and subsequent pools of water that recede into the thirsty ground has caused me to think about how much we allow God's love to permeate the depths of our souls.  Scripture tells us that God's love is not forced on us to accept, but that Jesus stands at the door of our heart and knocks, waiting for us to answer and let h…