In the same way that sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell are the ways in which we sense the physical world, we have “spiritual senses” that allow us to sense the divine.
John Wesley wrote that this spiritual sense “is the feeling of the soul whereby a believer perceives, through the ‘power of the highest overshadowing him’ (Luke 1:35), both the existence and the presence of [the One] in whom ‘he lives, moves and has his being’ (Acts 17:28), and indeed the whole invisible world, the entire system of things eternal.” (‘An Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion,” 1753)
These spiritual senses may at times be dimmed by any number of factors. Anxiety and stress can make it more difficult. Arrogance and selfishness tend to minimize our ability to see God. Societal sins like racism and poverty can crowd out our encounter with the divine.
Tune into God…
And likewise there are factors that may actually heighten our spiritual senses. For some, corporate worship and sharing the sacraments open up our experience to God’s presence. It may be a deep personal conversation with a friend in which you encounter the Spirit. Prayer and meditation, the study of Scripture, works of mercy and justice, and other spiritual disciplines can tune our hearts to God’s wavelength.
Indeed there are a wide variety of ways we sense God among us, ways of sensation that incorporate and transcend our physical senses. I feel like I can “see” God as I am hiking through a beautiful forest. Of course all that I can literally “see” are trees and birds and rocks and squirrels and other forest-y stuff. But in seeing all of that beauty, as far as I am concerned I am seeing God.
This week we will continue our worship series, “The Breath to Sing: Celebrating the Holy Spirit.” We’ll be thinking together about how the Spirit facilitates our experience of the divine, and how we can more fully engage our spiritual senses in each moment of our lives. Keep your eyes open!