Skip to main content

Traveling with God: Week of September 16, 2018

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.


Traveling with God Week of: September 16, 2018

For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.

Between my second and third year of seminary, in the summer of 2009, I lived at a monastery for two months. I was inspired to do so for many reasons, not the least of which was my desire to never experience another Georgia summer again. But another, stronger reason was this line from this passage of scripture. Despite being in the process of earning my Master of Divinity I felt rather more caught up in the human rather than the divine - papers due, tests to study for, drama with roommates. 

I figured if I went to live at a monastery I could do nothing but focus on the divine, after all, the only thing they do is sit around and pray all day. Of course, I couldn't have been more wrong. While there is a rhythm of stopping for prayer throughout the day, the rest of the day is filled up with very human things such as caring for the garden, chopping wood for the sister's wood burning stoves, and removing invasive species from the prairie. For a while, I was frustrated that though I came to escape the human and experience the divine, it seemed I had been plopped right down into more of the former. 

As I lived more of the rhythm of monastic life, I learned a secret the sisters had discovered long ago. The divine is not always separate and set apart. Rather, the divine is infused in all things, if we look for it. The human things of daily life can distract us, but when we pause, and allow ourselves to set our mind on the divine, we will find that in each of those human tasks there is a spark of the divine. Jesus does not want us to set our minds on either/or, rather he calls us to see the both/and - the divine within the human, the Holy Spirit surrounding everything, his presence in every moment. 


Lord of all and in all, help me to set my mind not on human things but on the divine. Help me to see the divine within the human, and so to experience your presence, grace, and love in every moment of my life. Amen.