Under the Sweet Stars: Expanding Our Vision of God Part II: Sheltering in “Place”

Refuge. Gwen Scott, 2018

We are in week two of our series, Under the Sweet Stars of Epiphany: Expanding our Vision of God.

God, what is it about you we cannot yet see?

What would you like to show us about yourself?

Last week, I suggested that this expansion of vision begins with longing. The wisemen spent their lives searching the vast expanse of heavens. Their expanded vision of God began with an inner longing, but it came through the particularity of place: a certain star, a certain child’s face. 

In the same way, our vast and sometimes vague inner longings find a degree of fulfillment in the particularities of place.

Interestingly, “place”, or Makom in Hebrew, is a common rabbinic name for God. Rabbi Toba Spitzer writes:

“The name Makom conveys a sense of being able to experience the Godly in any place; it also connotes forgiveness and compassion, a sense of nearness to the Divine. Makom invites us to associate Godliness with all those places where we’ve experienced a hint of Something beyond ourselves. It invites us to find the divine right here, wherever we happen to be—in this Place.”

If you missed Sunday and want to learn more about this Hebrew word, you can listen here: (podcast link).

If, this week, you would like to expand your vision of God by exploring this name for God, Makom, here are two practices for you: 

Spend some time this week remembering your own personal experiences of Makom, those places where you have had hints of something beyond yourself. Perhaps you want to erect a stone pillar, like Jacob did, in remembrance of those places—a piece of art, a poem, a written prayer. Or, perhaps you can simply pause and feel your gratitude, letting that be your prayer.

Practice Sheltering in “Place”. Just as you can feel the quiet presence of the forest as you walk through it, we can learn to sense the shelter of Makom even as we live, move and breathe. Here’s one way of practicing that awareness. Choose a place, a Makom—a room, a particular walk, or underneath a favourite tree. Visit it every day. For at least a few moments, be quiet with this place. No phones. No books. No distractions. Let the place hold and surround you, the way a room does, or a friendship. Feel its presence. Feel—in that place—for the way Makom is also sheltering you.

Deep peace and blessing,

— Anne

Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor, Church at Southpoint

Worship Calendar

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Sermons Are Podcasted
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Sun Jan 29  Fifth Sunday Brunches
** No Service at Sunnyside **

Sun Feb 5  
Under the Sweet Stars: Expanding our image of God
Rev. Anne Baxter Smith

Sun Feb 12
Under the Sweet Stars: Expanding our image of God
Rev. Anne Baxter Smith

New to Southpoint?

At Southpoint, it all begins with God’s love. Just as a plant grows, it receives sunshine, so we grow as we receive God’s love. At Southpoint, we are growing in our capacity to love God, ourselves, one another, and creation.

We seek to be a community of grace that is intentional yet organic, spacious yet authentic, grace-filled yet accountable. * We are fully welcoming. *

We encourage relationships rather than run programs, yet we recognize the importance of intentionality and structure as we nurture life together.

As a community, we seek to put our love in action. We value helping out on Sunday mornings, sharing food, and showing up in hard times. We keep our church life simple so folk have time to build relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. We encourage folk to serve in tangible ways within the wider community. We rent space rather than own a building, allowing us to do more with less, supporting missions at home and abroad.

Curious to know more?

These six slides express what motivates our ministry (best viewed on a monitor). Read Pastor Anne Baxter Smith’s bio here. Our website is southpoint.ca.

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