The life of a Christian is a life of presence. We take this presence into the places we go, the relationships we establish, and the public life we live. We take our presence into the places where strangers and neighbors are encountered, our children play, and our families dwell. Our presence is our greatest gift and therefore it must be cared for, intentionally shaped, and nurtured. This presence is shaped by our relationship to Christ and an openness to the Holy Spirit. If the Christian is not in a proper relationship with Christ, his or her presence becomes more about selfish concerns and not about sharing with others. Those who struggle with a relationship to Christ are anxious, discontent, or self-consumed. One cannot enter into the Christ relationship without first losing their life so that Christ may live through them. When Christ lives in us we become hosts to a God wanting to reach out to others through us. Likewise, an openness to the Holy Spirit allows the Spirit’s fruits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness to flow through us. Through a healthy relationship with Christ and an openness to the Holy Spirit it’s not us people encounter but rather the presence of heavenly things.
Too often we let the world and its many concerns steal the peace of God from our hearts. We seek justice in a world that cannot give it, comfort from a world permeated with pain, love in a world that only knows indifference and hate. We allow the world to shape our response to the needs of others instead of the heavenly guest dwelling in us. In the end, instead of our presence being an encounter with heaven reminding others there is something greater than what the world has to offer, they meet a bitter, scorned, and angry human being. Care for your presence, let the peace of God dwell within you, and always remember laughter, joy, the embrace of one human being toward another, and the simple belief that you were created for more than what the world tells you is transformative. You are created a little less than the angels, empowered to move mountains through faith. You were created to be agents of love, forgiveness, and sacred hospitality in a place that only sees doubt, indifference, revenge, and ignorance. This is why your presence matters; this is why you must intentionally be an encounter with heaven for those living in a world shaped by the forces of hell.
Care for your presence. Spend time with Christ and pray the Holy Spirit fills you with his love. You may just be that encounter with God so many people long for yet try and satisfy with so many other, temporal things.